USDA https://www.usda.gov has launched an interactive data tool called the Community Assessment Tool https://opioidmisusetool.norc.org which is free and available to the public. The tool enables users to overlay substance misuse data against socioeconomic census and other public information.
The data can help leaders, researchers, and policymakers assess what actions will be effective in addressing the opioid crisis at the local level especially in rural areas where the information is greatly needed. Rural Development within USDA https://www.rd.usda.gov partnered with the Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis at NORC https://www.norc.org located at the University of Chicago to develop the tool.
To address the crisis, USDA’s Rural Development Programs also provides loans and grants to help prevent opioid addiction and, prevention, provide treatment, and help the affected rural population with recovery.
For example, USDA’s Community Facility Direct Loan Program, through loan guarantees and grants, provides funding to help hospitals, emergency rooms, deal with healthcare infrastructure, and also help facilities to purchase equipment.
The program assists to help meet the demand for opioid-related emergency room visits by providing funds so that hospitals can construct or add onto emergency departments. This enables hospitals and clinics to be able to construct additional rooms dedicated to opioid treatment.
Towns, municipalities, non-profit organizations, hospitals, clinics, healthcare organizations, and Native American Tribes are eligible to apply for funding for opioid related projects through the USDA Rural Development Community Facility Direct Loan program, through loan guarantees, plus through grants.
In September, USDA announced that the agency is investing $10.7 million in 85 projects in 22 states through the Community Facilities program.
There are five projects alone included in Michigan. For example:
- Burt Township–$121,129 in grants with $35,000 in loans to purchase an ambulance which will be used to respond to emergencies including opioid misuse incidents
- City of Manistique–$47,000 in grants to purchase three cardiac monitor defibrillators to be installed in community ambulances. The new equipment will improve the response to opioid misuse incidents in a community of nearly 3,100
- City of Sault Ste Marie–$80,850 in grants to purchase an ambulance to improve emergency responses to opioid misuse incidents
- Missaukee County–$150,000 in grants to improve the emergency dispatch system. The system will improve communications to help combat the opioid crisis
- Sanilac County–$30,146 in grants to purchase computer equipment and provide treatment and education throughout the county
Go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3wucWubU8I8feature=youtu.be to view the video “USDA Responds to Opioid Crisis in Rural America”.