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Rural Opioid Federal Interagency Working Group Releases Rural Resource Guide

The Rural Opioid Federal Interagency Working Group recently released a Rural Resource Guide to help rural communities address the opioid epidemic. The guide is “a listing of Federal programs that can be used to build resilient communities and address opioid misuse in rural communities. The Rural Resource Guide to Help Communities Address Substance Use Disorder and Opioid Misuse (PDF, 1.7 MB) is a first-of-its-kind, one-stop-shop for rural leaders looking for Federal funding and partnership opportunities,” according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

ED is one of more than a dozen federal departments and agencies represented on this working group, which is co-chaired by USDA and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Others include the Departments of Commerce, Health and Human Services, Housing, Justice, Labor, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs, the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

As explained by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos,

The opioid crisis has produced broken families, shattered lives and indescribable tragedy throughout the United States. Drug overdoses have claimed more than 300,000 lives since the year 2000 and have become the leading cause of injury death in the country. In 2016, more than two million Americans had an addiction to prescription or illicit opioids. No community is immune to this “crisis next door.”

The Secretary also described ED’s two-pronged approach to the crisis.

First, we are helping to educate students, families and educators about the dangers of opioid misuse as well as the importance of prevention and recovery. We are also supporting State and local prevention and recovery efforts and highlighting successful practices by schools.

The Rural Resource Guide, as USDA’s press release explains, is also part of a broader effort by the Trump administration.

President Donald J. Trump has mobilized his entire Administration to address opioid abuse by directing the declaration of a nationwide Public Health Emergency. For a rural community or county already struggling to attract new – or maintain existing – businesses, the impact of opioid misuse on the quality of life and economic prosperity can be enormous. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in October 2017 that death rates from drug overdoses in rural areas have now surpassed drug overdose death rates in urban areas.

The Rural Resource Guide to Help Communities Address Substance Use Disorder and Opioid Misuse was developed by the Rural Opioid Federal Interagency Working Group. In May 2018, the ONDCP stood up the Rural Opioid Federal Interagency Working Group to help address the opioid crisis by improving coordination and reducing potential overlap among federal agencies responding to the crisis in the Nation’s rural communities.


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