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USDA to host opioid roundtables to address rural needs


 The USDA is hitting the road this spring to host a series of monthly roundtables to address the opioid crisis in rural America.

“The opioid epidemic in rural communities is more than a public health issue,” said Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett. “This is a matter of rural prosperity. Opioid misuse is impacting the quality of life and economic well-being in small towns, which is why partnering with rural leaders to address this crisis is critical to the future of rural America.”

Beginning this month, Hazlett will convene regional roundtables to bring together partners in five states to raise awareness and better understand what support rural communities need to address opioid misuse. Key topics will include challenges associated with substance use disorder; strategies for prevention, treatment and recovery; and how these measures can be replicated to effectively address the epidemic in other rural communities.

Roundtables will be held:
• March 14 in Pennsylvania
• April 11 in Utah
• May 9 in Kentucky
• June 6 in Oklahoma
• July 11 in Maine

To be notified of roundtable event specifics as they become available, subscribe to receive email updates from USDA on rural opioid misuse.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that in 2016 nearly 64,000 Americans died from a drug overdose. An overwhelming majority of these overdose deaths involved an opioid. At 174 people each day, this is more than the number of lives lost in car accidents or gun-related homicides. While no corner of the country has gone untouched by this issue, the opioid epidemic has hit rural America particularly hard.

USDA is committed to being a partner to rural communities to address substance misuse disorder at the local level through program investment, strategic partnerships, and best practice implementation.

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