USDA to address rural opioid crisis

A black and white image of an addict, dead beneath a sheet, arm outstretched, pills in the palm of their lifeless hand and littering the floor near their hand.

WASHINGTON — The United States Department of Agriculture is giving funding priority in two key grant programs to address opioid misuse in rural communities, according to Anne Hazlett, assistant to the secretary for USDA Rural Development.

“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 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.


Applications for Community Facilities grants funded with this National Office reserve should be submitted on or before June 4. 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.

Applications can be submitted electronically at or in hardcopy to: USDA Rural Development Telecommunications Programs, 1400 Independence Avenue Southwest, Room 2844, STOP 1597, Washington, DC 20250-1597.


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