USDA Prioritizes Investments to Address Opioid Crisis in Rural America

(801) 524-4324

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is giving funding priority in two key grant programs to address opioid misuse in rural communities.

   “The opioid epidemic is dramatically impacting prosperity in many small towns and rural places across the country,” Hazlett said. “With this focused investment, we are targeting our resources to be a strong partner to rural communities in building an effective local response to this significant challenge.”

   USDA is reserving $5 million in the Community Facilities Grant Program and is giving priority to Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant (DLT) Program applications proposing innovative projects to address the opioid epidemic in rural communities.

   USDA Rural Development will host a roundtable event on opioid misuse in rural America on April 11, 2018, in Salt Lake City.

   USDA Rural Development State Director Randy Parker said, “Investing in the work to combat opioid addiction and the devastating effects it has on rural America is desperately needed. USDA has taken a particular interest in this issue and we encourage all eligible applications to come forward for consideration.”

   In the Community Facilities grant program, rural communities, non-profit organizations and federally recognized tribes can apply through the usual Community Facilities grant application process for grants up to $150,000 for innovative projects such as mobile treatment clinics. Community Facilities grants may fund up to 75 percent of an eligible project.

   Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant program applicants will receive priority for telemedicine projects with the primary purpose of providing opioid prevention, treatment or recovery services. Eligible proposals can receive 10 priority points on their applications.

   Funding for both programs was made available through the FY 2018 Omnibus spending bill. The funding comes at a time when the Trump administration is pursuing an ambitious agenda to combat the nation’s opioid crisis.

   Applications for Community Facilities grants funded with this National Office reserve should be submitted on or before June 4, 2018. Applications submitted after this date will be considered for regular, state-allocated funding. Interested applicants in Utah may contact Heath Price, Community Programs Director, at (801) 524-4325 or heath.price@ut.usda.gov.

   The application deadline for Distance Learning and Telemedicine grants is June 4, 2018. Applications can be submitted electronically at Grants.gov or in hardcopy to: USDA Rural Development Telecommunications Programs, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Room 2844, STOP 1597, Washington, DC 20250-1597.

   The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016. More than half of those deaths involved opioids, including prescription drugs and heroin.

   USDA is an important partner to rural communities addressing this national emergency. The Department is investing in treatment facilities and services, e-Connectivity and telemedicine, and public education efforts. In addition to program investment, USDA is helping communities share information about best practices to address the crisis. Visit USDA’s Rural Opioid Misuse webpage for more information.

   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.

Last Modified: 04/04/2018