In 2017, approximately 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses and 49,000 of those deaths involved opioids. In light of this crisis, USDA and others are taking immediate action.
Rural communities have access to the Community Assessment Tool that enables communities to overlay substance misuse data against socioeconomic, census and other public information. This data can help stakeholders and leaders find actions most effective to address opioids at a local level.
“Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural America in addressing this monumental challenge,” said Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development, Anne Hazlett, in a recent press release. “Local leaders in small towns across our country need access to user-friendly and relevant data to help them build grassroots solutions for prevention, treatment and recovery.”
The Community Assessment Tool is free and available to the public. The website is opioidmisusetool.norc.org at USDA’s Rural Opioid Misuse webpage.
Many opioid addictions, and ultimately overdoses, are fueled by those misusing prescription pain pills. President Trump declared October as National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. A task force created by the administration was tasked with creating recommendations to combat this issue. Increased investment in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation.