The U.S. Department of Agriculture is working on a plan to combat the opioid epidemic in rural America. The USDA is seeing impacts on the quality of life and economic well-being in small towns.
In 2016, the state of Utah lost 635 people to the opioid epidemic. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has ranked Utah as one of the states with a high death rate at 22.35 per 100,000 people due to drug overdose. Utah also has one of the highest overdose rates among veterans.
“We are launching a series of roundtable discussions,” said Ann Hazlett, the USDA assistant to the secretary for rural development.
“These events will begin next Wednesday in Pennsylvania and continue through July covering five states.”
The series of five round tables over the course of five months will bring local leaders together to discuss how the USDA can partner in addressing opioid misuse.
“Each event we attend will cover challenges associated with substance use disorder in rural communities, strategies for prevention, treatment and recovery,” Hazlett said. “Then importantly to look at those measures that are working and how they can be replicated to effetely address the challenge in other rural communities.”
A roundtable to discuss opioid misuse will be held in Utah on April 11th.