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Prescription drug abuse is a huge problem in parts of rural Eastern Kentucky. One of the ways people are getting their pain pills is to load up in vans and drive 14 hours to Florida where there are doctors willing to write prescriptions by the hundreds.

Bill Estep reports in the Lexington Herald-Leader that when police arrested one Boca Raton doctor for illegally prescribing thousands of pain pills, most of the case files were from Eastern Kentucky.

Kentucky monitors prescriptions and Florida doesn’t. So if you want to shop for a doctor who will fill your Oxycontin habit, that’s the place to go. Florida legislators passed a bill that would begin monitoring prescriptions, but never funded enforcement.

Florida is facing a $3 billion shortfall in its budget and it is not clear when, or if, the state will fund enforcement of the drug law.

Story in the Washington Post this morning about a proposed copper mine in the Tonto National Forest, where a deep (7,000 feet) block of ore was discovered a decade ago.

It’s a mining area, but the proposed operation would include some popular tourist destinations — and yet another rural community is faced with a decision about what kind of place it wants to become. 

Dan Piller in the Des Moines Register reports that “corn is battling soybeans for more acres on farms in Iowa and throughout the Corn Belt, and early indications are that corn is losing the fight.” 

Piller spoke to traders who say the nation needs another 5 million acres of corn planted to avoid a price-spiking battle for the crop between ethanol plants, livestock, sweetners and exporters. But, meanwhile, soybeans are cheaper to plant and are selling for a high price.

• L.A. Times columnist Doyle McManus explains how “college-educated Americans live in a different country than high school dropouts.” 

McManus reviews the large body of economic research finding that economic mobility in the U.S. (the ability of people born in poverty to move up the income ladder) is limited, especially when compared to other industrialized countries. This stagnation is driven by the failure of many in the U.S. to get a college degree.

We at the Yonder would point out that the percentage of adults with college degrees in rural areas is falling behind many urban counties. 

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