The campaign, which now reaches all of Ford’s U.S. plants, began in a state where the opioid epidemic has been particularly devastating: Ohio. In 2017, the most recent year with government data available, 5,111 people died of drug overdoses in Ohio, where Ford has four plants and more than 6,500 employees.
“Some of our rural cities don’t have 3,000 people. Imagine losing a whole city,” Jerry Carson, a UAW employee support representative at Ford, said on a community podcast. “That’s what’s happening throughout our country.”
Ohio had the nation’s second-highest rate of overdose deaths in 2017, with 46 per 100,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, coming in after neighboring West Virginia, which had 58 deaths per 100,000. Kentucky ranked fifth, with 37, vs. a national average of 22.
GM, FCA and Honda of America Manufacturing also have plants in Ohio. Toyota Motor Corp. operates plants in Kentucky and West Virginia.
“Whatever’s happening to our…