The Department of Agriculture will host a series of roundtable talks on opioid misuse. Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett Wednesday announced a series of monthly roundtables on opioids through the summer.
The action follows the creation of Farm Town Strong, an effort by the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Farmers Union and USDA to combat the opioid epidemic. Hazlett says the opioid epidemic in rural America goes beyond a public health issue, saying “this is a matter of rural prosperity.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that in 2016 nearly 64,000 Americans died from a drug overdose, with an overwhelming majority of these overdose deaths involved an opioid.
The first roundtable will be held March 14th in Pennsylvania, with events in Utah, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Maine scheduled throughout the summer. Key topics will include challenges associated with substance use disorder, strategies for prevention, treatment and recovery, and how th0se measures can be replicated to effectively address the epidemic in other rural communities.