“The opioid epidemic has had a devastating impact on small towns and rural places throughout our country. Yesterday, the First Lady reminded us through her Be Best initiative that children are a critical component to building rural prosperity. As more and more families in rural communities are impacted by this crisis, the First Lady’s efforts are an important voice for this next generation of rural leaders. Working together, we can build a strong foundation that supports families and children affected by the crisis. We can ensure that children living in small towns are strong, healthy and resilient when facing difficult choices and able to realize their full potential.”
At the direction of President Trump, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been keenly focused on addressing the opioid crisis in rural communities. So far, the Department has convened regional roundtables to hear firsthand accounts of the impact of the crisis and effective strategies for response in rural communities; launched a webpage on opioid misuse in rural America featuring resources for rural communities and individuals facing the crisis; and prioritized investments in two key grant programs to address the crisis in rural places. For more information about these efforts, visit the USDA rural opioid misuse webpage at www.usda.gov/opioids.
“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.
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 will be accepted at the Rural Development office in the state in which the applicant is located. Applications submitted after this date will be considered for regular, state-allocated funding.
The application deadline for Distance Learning and Telemedicine grants is June 4, 2018. Applications can be submitted electronically at Grants.gov or in hard copy 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 nearly 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016. More than half of those deaths involved opioids, including prescription drugs and heroin.