Rural leaders fighting opioid abuse in their communities now have a new resource at their fingertips: an online guide on federal programs that offer assistance.
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development office have released The Rural Resource Guide to Help Communities Address Substance Use Disorder and Opioid Misuse, which lists federal programs that can provide funding to build resilient communities and address opioid abuse. The 140-page guide organizes information by 26 categories to identify potential sources of funding and partnership opportunities.
“Strong and healthy communities are a cornerstone for prosperity in rural America,” said USDA’s Anne Hazlett, assistant to the secretary for Rural Development. “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.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in October 2017 that death rates from drug overdoses in rural areas surpassed drug overdose rates in urban areas. Overall, more than 300,000 Americans have died from overdoses involving opioids since 2000, according to the Office of National Drug Control.
Prescription and illicit opioids killed more than 42,000 Americans in 2016, more than five times the number in 1999. The epidemic’s toll is so great that it contributed to the first decline in U.S. life expectancy since 1993, according to opioid overuse data from the CDC.
Released Oct. 30, the guide is the latest federal resource available to help rural communities address the opioid crisis. It was developed by the Rural Opioid Federal Interagency Working Group, which was created by the Office of National Drug Control Policy to coordinate the efforts of federal agencies responding to the crisis.
Victoria Rocha is a staff writer at NRECA.