Guide helps rural communities address opioid epidemic


WASHINGTON, D.C. – White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Deputy Director Jim Carroll and U.S. Department of Agriculture Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett this week unveiled a listing of Federal programs that can be used to build resilient communities and address opioid misuse in rural America. 

The Rural Resource Guide to Help Communities Address Substance Use Disorder and Opioid Misuse is a first-of-its-kind, one-stop-shop for rural leaders looking for Federal funding and partnership opportunities.

“Many rural communities in America have been especially hard hit by the opioid crisis,” said Deputy Director Carroll. “ONDCP and USDA partnered to create this guide to help them find the Federal resources that can help them respond.”

“Strong and healthy communities are a cornerstone for prosperity in rural America,” Hazlett said. “Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to empowering rural leaders with tools to better leverage state, local and private resources with federal investment.”

More than 300,000 Americans have died from overdoses involving opioids since 2000. President Donald J. Trump has mobilized his entire Administration to address opioid abuse by directing the declaration of a nationwide Public Health Emergency. For a rural community or county already struggling to attract new – or maintain existing – businesses, the impact of opioid misuse on the quality of life and economic prosperity can be enormous. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in October 2017 that death rates from drug overdoses in rural areas have now surpassed drug overdose death rates in urban areas.

The Rural Resource Guide to Help Communities Address Substance Use Disorder and Opioid Misuse was developed by the Rural Opioid Federal Interagency Working Group. In May 2018, the ONDCP stood up the Rural Opioid Federal Interagency Working Group to help address the opioid crisis by improving coordination and reducing potential overlap among federal agencies responding to the crisis in the Nation’s rural communities.

The Working Group is co-chaired by ONDCP and USDA. The departments and agencies represented on the Rural Opioid Federal Interagency Working Group include the Departments of Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing, Justice, Labor, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs; the Corporation for National and Community Service; and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The Rural Resource Guide to Help Address Substance Use Disorder and Opioid Misuse is the second tool announced  in USDA’s Community Opioid Misuse Toolbox – a suite of essential tools supporting grassroots strategies to address the opioid epidemic. USDA launched the Community Assessment Tool in early October an interactive database to help community leaders assess how and why the opioid epidemic is impacting their regions. USDA’s Community Opioid Misuse Toolbox is free and available to the public. It can be accessed on USDA’s Rural Opioid Misuse Webpage.


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