At the Shaping our Appalachian Region Summit, Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA has provided grant and loan awards across Kentucky to assist 12 entities fighting substance misuse.
“The awards announced today demonstrate the commitment of the Trump administration to combat opioid addiction in rural Kentucky,” State Director Hilda Legg said. “Having the Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett join us at the SOAR Summit is an example of the dedication Secretary Perdue has to improving lives in our Commonwealth."
Today’s announcement demonstrates the capability of USDA to positively affect multiple avenues of recovery. Funding provided emergency vehicles, equipment and electronics for in-patient facilities, transport vehicles to drive individuals to out-patient meetings, and equipment to help individuals learn new jobs skills.
The number of grants received in Kentucky was second in the nation. Grant awards announced to combat opioid misuse totaled $832,090, and along with loans totaling $743,500, these Rural Development investments will impact Kentucky in various ways.
Foothills Academy provides a safe environment for youth and encourages and promotes changes in values and behavior. An $89,700 grant will be used to purchase two trucks and welding equipment to provide instruction and job opportunities for troubled male youths aged 13-18, many of whom come from broken homes due to the opioid addiction crisis.
A grant to Magoffin County Health Department of $72,170 will be used to assist with purchasing a mobile health clinic. The mobile clinic will allow the county to increase access to opioid misuse treatment. Patients will have access to medication assisted treatment, counseling services, needle exchange, relapse prevention training, and basic health screenings. The mobile unit will travel to remote areas of the county helping to overcome the barriers of seeking treatment and recovery programs, and will also provide educational outreach to local schools.
Additional award recipients in Kentucky include Pathways' Outpatient Center in Mt. Sterling, Pathways' Outpatient Center in Sandy Hook, Pathways' Outpatient Center in Louisa, Genesis Recovery Kentucky Center in Grayson, Morehead Inspiration Center, Isaiah House, the City of Scottsville, the City of Springfield, Lewis County Fiscal Court, and West Care.
Misuse of prescription opioids is a major public health challenge facing rural communities in Kentucky and across the nation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified 54 Kentucky counties that are at risk for outbreaks of HIV and/or hepatitis C because of the opioid epidemic. There were 1,565 overdose fatalities in Kentucky in 2017. The highest number of deaths occurred among people between age 35 and 44.
For a rural community or county already struggling to attract new businesses – or maintain existing ones – the impact of opioid misuse on the quality of life and economic prosperity can be enormous. CDC reported in October 2017 that death rates from drug overdoses in rural areas have now surpassed drug overdose death rates in urban areas.
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity, led by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.
To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).
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 services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.