The Health Resources and Services Administration’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy has awarded $24 million for the second round of Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) planning grants [see press release] to organizations, including Community Health Centers. The awards are part of a broad multi-year strategy to address the nationwide epidemic of opioid use disorder (OUD). Recipients receive $200,000 for one year to formalize partnerships with local stakeholders, conduct needs assessments, and develop plans to implement and sustain prevention, treatment, and recovery interventions for substance use disorders (SUD), including OUD. “The goal is to reduce the morbidity and mortality of the diseases in high-risk rural communities,” said HRSA Administrator George Sigounas, MS, Ph.D .
Health centers are among the awardees. To view the list of awardees, please visit this link.
The Department of Health and Human Services has a five point strategy to fight opioid use disorder. The five points are: better addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery services; better data, better pain management, better targeting of overdose reversing drugs and research. Rural communities are especially hard hit by the epidemic and face workforce shortages, geographic barriers, limited treatment infrastructure, and stigma associated with SUD/OUD. In response to the crisis, health centers are not only piloting promising and innovative solutions, they are also ramping up efforts to recruit and train staff in the range of appropriate services such as medication-assisted therapy (MAT), counseling, pain management, social services support and telehealth.