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Opioid Misuse in Rural America

The 2020 Rx Drug Abuse Heroin & Drug Summit Call for Presentations is Now Open

The 2020 Rx Drug Abuse Heroin & Drug Summit Call for Presentations is now open. The Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit is the largest national collaboration of professionals from local, state, and federal agencies, business, academia, treatment providers, and allied communities impacted by substance use disorder.

The deadline is August 23, 2019. There is a limit of 3 presentation proposals per submitter.

Submit a presentation proposal

The United States is experiencing an epidemic of drug overdose deaths.

In 2017, more than 72,000 Americans died from a drug overdose. At 197 people each day, this is more than the number of lives lost in car accidents or gun-related homicides. An overwhelming majority of these overdose deaths involved an opioid.Learn more

CDC map showing the number of age-adjusted rates of drug overdose deaths by state, USA, 2017

In October 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the rates of drug overdose deaths are rising in rural areas, surpassing rates in urban areas. In addition, a December 2017 survey by the National Farmers Union and the American Farm Bureau Federation found that as many as 74 percent of farmers have been directly impacted by the opioid crisis.

Under the leadership of President Donald J. Trump, USDA is approaching the opioid crisis with a dedicated urgency. The opioid epidemic is devastating to its victims and their families. It has a compounding ripple effect throughout communities, affecting quality of life, economic opportunity, and rural prosperity. No corner of our country has gone untouched by the opioid crisis, but the impact of this issue on small towns and rural places has been particularly significant.

USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities on a number of fronts:

  • Through program resources for prevention, treatment, and recovery opportunities for those in need. See the many ways your community can partner with USDA (PDF, 528 KB) to meet immediate needs in this fight.
  • Through program resources to help rural communities address many of the deeper, systemic, and long-term issues making these places vulnerable to the opioid crisis in the first place. Our infographic illustrates (PDF, 4.8 MB) how USDA can help rural communities respond to the opioid epidemic by addressing some of the root causes.
  • Through the creation of essential tools for rural leaders to use to understand the impact and cause(s) of the crisis in their community; and tools to understand what federal resources are available to help support grassroots strategies to address this crisis.

What's Working

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What’s Working in Your Town?

Tell us what actions your rural community is taking in prevention, treatment and recovery.

Share Feedback


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See What's Working in Your State

View an interactive map of state projects and watch prevention, treatment, and recovery stories.

See What's Working


Community Toolbox

  • An interactive data tool that empowers community leaders to assess the causes and impact of opioid misuse in their community.
    Use the Tool
  • A listing of Federal programs that can be used to build resilient communities and address opioid misuse in rural communities.
    Download the Guide (PDF, 1.7 MB)

Policy Information

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