USDA Partners with HHS to Support Rural Communities Combating Opioid Misuse

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that a group of Cooperative Extension partners will have the opportunity to apply for grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help communities combat opioid use disorders. HHS intends to build on successful 2017 and 2018 National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Rural Health and Safety Education projects that focus on opioid abuse.

With the impact opioid misuse is having on rural America, we cannot build strong, prosperous communities without addressing this crisis,” said Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett. “USDA is committed to working hand-in-hand with rural leaders and fellow mission-driven organizations – including other members of the federal family – to be a strong partner in this battle.”

HHS’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is engaging with the Cooperative Extension System (CES) to bring opioid prevention, treatment and recovery activities to rural America more efficiently. CES is a federal, state and local partnership. It operates out of the nation’s land-grant universities, empowering communities of all sizes to address challenges they face, from nutrition and food safety to responding to emergencies.

SAMHSA is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2018. Eligible applicants are existing NIFA Cooperative Extension grantees that focus on opioid issues affecting rural communities.

The grants HHS is offering through the Rural Opioid Technical Assistance (ROTA) program must be used to develop and implement robust collaborations with the CES system to improve the health and vitality of rural communities across the nation. ROTA will help communities develop and disseminate training and technical assistance to address opioid use disorder.

There is $8,250,000 in available funding for the ROTA program. Proposed projects cannot exceed $550,000 in total costs (direct and indirect). The application deadline is Sept. 20, 2018. Please see the SAMHSA funding opportunity announcement for details.  “The opioid crisis and substance misuse is impacting Colorado’s rural areas at a high percentage rate. USDA is working with federal, state and local organizations to provide resources and funding to help. This grant is one more opportunity for our rural communities to combat this national epidemic,” said USDA Rural Development Colorado State Director Sallie Clark.

At the direction of President Trump, USDA has been keenly focused on addressing the opioid crisis in rural communities. So far, the Department has convened regional roundtables to hear firsthand accounts of the impact of the crisis and effective strategies for response in rural communities; launched an interactive webpage on opioid misuse in rural America, featuring resources for rural communities and individuals facing the crisis; and prioritized investments in two key grant programs to address the crisis in rural places. For more information about these efforts, visit the USDA rural opioid misuse webpage at www.usda.gov/opioids.

NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and extension and promotes transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA’s integrated research, education and extension programs support the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel whose work results in user-inspired, groundbreaking discoveries that combat childhood obesity, improve and sustain rural economic growth, address water availability issues, increase food production, find new sources of energy, mitigate climate variability and ensure food safety. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural science, visit www.nifa.usda.gov/impacts, sign up for email updates or follow us on Twitter @USDA_NIFA, #NIFAimpacts.

Last Modified: 09/12/2018