U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Missouri Rural Development State Director Jeff Case today announced that the USDA is partnering with rural communities to support opportunities for opioid prevention, treatment and recovery. Among the 85 recipients nationwide receiving funding are four (4) Missouri organizations ready to make an impact in the state’s opioid epidemic.
“In 2016, there were 908 opioid overdose deaths in Missouri and it is now estimated that 1 out of every 3 Missouri families is affected in some way by opioid misuse. This is truly a crisis in rural Missouri,” said Case. “Providing funding for projects that address opioid treatment, prevention, and recovery is just one way USDA Rural Development is able to help combat this epidemic.”
Missouri has also hosted a series of rural opioid misuse roundtables throughout the state to glean a better understanding of how exactly the opioid epidemic has impacted rural Missouri and what can be done about it. These roundtables have provided a platform for stakeholders to develop new partnerships as well as encourage existing partnerships to flourish and broaden. As a result, several project ideas have developed, and these four Missouri projects are receiving funding as part of today’s announcement:
- The Big Springs Medical Association is receiving a $48,600 loan and a $59,400 grant to purchase three cars and one van to transport their Urgent Care Opioid Medical team throughout Butler, Carter, Iron, Ripley, Reynolds, Shannon and Wayne counties. The new vehicles will enable the medical team to travel to remote rural areas and provide care to opioid misuse patients and to conduct outreach and partnering efforts in each of the communities served. Big Springs Medical Association will also provide transportation for patients who do not have access to their own transportation and, therefore, would not have access to opioid use disorder treatment otherwise. The purchase of these vehicles is the first step in the area's strategic plan to prevent, treat and provide a means for recovery to address the opioid crisis to 102,447 rural citizens the Association serves.
- Great Mines Health Center is receiving a $150,000 grant to purchase equipment and furniture for an outpatient substance and alcohol misuse treatment and recovery center in Washington County. This funding will allow the health center to improve access to outpatient substance and alcohol misuse screening and treatment, including medication-assisted withdrawal treatment, a service that is currently unavailable in Washington County.
- West Carter County Ambulance Association is receiving a $72,000 grant to purchase a four-wheel drive ambulance that will serve over 2,800 residents in western Carter County. The ambulance will be used to decrease response time and increase access to some of the very rural and even remote areas of the county. This, in turn, will shorten transport time from these remote areas, ultimately reducing death rates associated with opioid overdoses.
- The Queen City Housing Association is receiving a $3,750 grant to purchase and install locking medicine cabinets in all 20 units at their multi-family housing complex. This will help the tenants prevent their prescription drugs from being easily accessible to others. This strategic partnership with the complex is an innovative approach to addressing the opioid crisis by helping to control the distribution of opioids within the community by limiting access of prescription drugs to those for whom they are prescribed. This new approach will help keep drugs off the streets and promote a healthier community for Queen City's 598 residents.
Case dovetailed today’s announcement with a broader national release by Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett in which she announced USDA is investing $10.7 million in 85 projects in 22 states through the Community Facilities program.
“With its impact on workforce, quality of life and the economic vitality of rural communities from Maine to California, the opioid epidemic is more than just a matter of public health – it is an issue of rural prosperity,” Hazlett said. “Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in planning and building local responses to this monumental challenge.”
Hazlett announced that USDA is making investments today in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Vermont and Wisconsin.
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity 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/mo.