The 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 today unveiled a listing of Federal programs that can be used to build resilient communities and address opioid misuse in rural areas. 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 Trump has mobilized his entire Administration to address opioid abuse by declaring a nationwide public health emergency. For a rural area already struggling to attract new or maintain existing businesses and residents, 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 working group to improve coordination and reduce potential overlap among Federal agencies responding to the opioid crisis in the Nation’s rural communities.
The working group is co-chaired by ONDCP and USDA. The departments and agencies represented on the 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 resource guide is the second tool announced this month in USDA’s Community Opioid Misuse Toolbox—a suite of essential tools supporting grassroots strategies to address the opioid epidemic. Earlier this month, USDA launched the Community Assessment Tool, an interactive database to help community leaders assess how and why the opioid epidemic is impacting their regions. The toolbox is free and available to the public.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety, and healthcare; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. Learn more at www.rd.usda.gov.