Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Feds release tools to help rural areas fight opioid epidemic

The federal government has created a resource to help rural communities find funding to fight the opioid epidemic. The Rural Opioid Federal Interagency Working Group created the Rural Resource Guide to Help Communities Address Substance Use Disorder and Opioid Misuse, "a first-of-its-kind, one-stop-shop for rural leaders looking for federal funding and partnership opportunities," the High Plains Journal reports. The Working Group is co-chaired by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Rural areas have been particularly hard-hit by the opioid epidemic; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last year that death rates from drug overdoses in rural areas have surpassed rates in urban areas. And cash-strapped communities often have a hard time dealing with such a surge, and don't have the human resources to find and apply for grants that could help, the High Plains Journal reports.

The Rural Resource Guide is the second tool for fighting the opioid epidemic that the federal government has released this month. Earlier this month the Agriculture Department launched the Community Assessment Tool, an interactive database that helps community leaders figure out how and why the opioid epidemic is hurting their areas.

In addition to the USDA and Office of National Drug Control Policy, the working group that created the Rural Resource Guide had representatives from the departments of Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing, Justice, Labor, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs; the Corporation for National and Community Service; and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

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