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USDA Prioritizes Funding to Facilitate Safe Prescription Drug Disposal in Rural Communities

USDA Prioritizes Funding to Facilitate Safe Prescription Drug Disposal in Rural Communities

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will award additional priority points to Solid Waste Management Grant Program applications proposing innovative projects to promote the safe disposal of prescription drugs in rural communities. Hazlett made the announcement in observance of the 16th annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

“Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to local leaders in combatting the opioid epidemic in rural America,” Hazlett said. “Helping rural families with local options to dispose of unused medications is an important first step in building healthy rural communities.”

USDA Solid Waste Management Grants support the planning and management of solid waste sites. Rural communities, non-profit organizations, federally recognized tribes and academic institutions can apply.

The application deadline for the Solid Waste Management Grant Program is Dec. 31, 2018. Applications can be submitted electronically at Grants.gov or in hard copy to: USDA Rural Development Water and Environmental Programs, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Room 5168, STOP 1522, Washington, DC 20250-1597.

According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.2 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of misused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.

The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that nearly 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017. More than half of those deaths involved opioids, including prescription drugs and heroin.

In May 2018, the White House Office of National Drug Control policy (ONDCP) stood up the Rural Opioid Federal Interagency Working Group to help address the opioid crisis by improving coordination and reducing potential overlap among federal agencies responding to the crisis in the Nation’s rural communities.

The Working Group is co-chaired by ONDCP and USDA. The departments and agencies represented on the Rural Opioid Federal Interagency Working Group include the departments of Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing, Justice, Labor, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs; the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

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 access in rural areas.

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