While no corner of the country has gone untouched by the opioid epidemic, rural America has been hit particularly hard. The Rural Responses Initiative is designed to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with opioid overdoses among individuals who come in contact with law enforcement or are involved in the criminal justice system in high-risk rural communities and regions.
This initiative, co-funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the State Justice Institute, supports a six-month planning phase for 21 sites to identify current gaps in prevention, treatment, and/or recovery services for individuals who encounter the criminal justice system within the target rural service area.
During the 18-month implementation phase, the sites will initiate new activities or augment existing efforts to strengthen epidemiologic surveillance and public health data infrastructure, implement effective community-level opioid overdose prevention activities, and establish or enhance public safety, public health, and behavioral health collaborations. Sites may also elect to leverage funding to expand peer recovery and recovery support services that help people start and stay in recovery.
Reducing overdose deaths in rural communities by strengthening public safety, public health, and behavioral health partnerships and enhancing their capacity to implement intervention strategies.
The Reaching Rural Initiative brings together rural practitioners from different professional backgrounds and communities throughout the country to build a national network of rural communities committed to adopting bold solutions to the persistent challenge of substance use in rural communities. The inaugural class of 67 fellows reflects diverse disciplines and unique experiences.Visit Reaching Rural
On December 13–14, 2018, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) partnered to convene judicial and law enforcement leaders from select rural communities to discuss special challenges associated with tackling the opioid epidemic, to share information on programs and innovations, and to promote discussion and peer learning. BJA and USDA are pleased to make available this video of interviews from that event.View the video here!
The Rural Community Toolbox serves as a guide to the resources that can help make a difference in rural communities. It offers tools to empower rural community leaders to assess the causes and impact of substance use disorder and find federal programs to help them build strong healthy drug-free rural communities.View the toolbox here!