Maine Selected as one of five States to talk about opioid misuse with USDA

By Ramona du Houx

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced USDA is hosting a series of monthly roundtables on opioids through the summer.

In Maine there were 353 deaths related to opioid misuse or abuse, and the state was ranked by the Center for Disease Control as one of the states with a high death rate due to drug overdose, with a rate of 26.51 per 100,000 people.

 “The opioid epidemic in rural communities is more than a public health issue,” said 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.

"Rural Maine communities are some of the very best places in the country to live, work, and raise a family. By taking the initiative to become a part of the solution to the opioid addiction problem, USDA Rural Development is helping to ensure that the future remains bright for Maine citizens, and that those who struggle with addiction have access to resources that can put them on the path to recovery," said ”USDA Rural Development State Director Timothy P. Hobbs.

Maine's roundtable will be held on July 11th.

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. For more information, go to USDA’s opioid misuse in rural America webpage.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet e-Connectivity in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.