Today, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Jim Carroll joined Assistant to the President and Senior Counselor Kellyanne Conway and representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA), along with local officials to launch the Rural Community Toolbox (RCTB; ruralcommunitytoolbox.org). The RCTB is an online clearinghouse created by the Trump Administration with the express purpose of connecting rural leaders with funding, data, and information to combat drug addiction in rural America.
With resources from 16 different Federal departments and agencies, the Rural Community Toolbox is a one-stop shop for those seeking help in building strong healthy, and drug-free rural communities. In addition to funding and technical assistance, the RCTB includes current information resources on over 40 key topics related to addiction in rural America as well as Federal resources about treatment and recovery support for individuals who have been impacted by substance use disorders.
“In my travels throughout rural America, I have seen firsthand that not only have rural communities been hard hit by addiction, but there are significant gaps in many rural areas in the resources needed to build strong healthy, and drug-free communities,” ONDCP Director Jim Carroll stated. “With tools like the Rural Community Toolbox, the Trump Administration is committed to being a strong partner to rural leaders by applying a whole-of-government approach in this battle to save lives.”
“Many Americans living in rural communities have long been vulnerable to a lack of quality, responsive health care. These forgotten men and women have a voice and a champion in President Trump,” Assistant to the President and Senior Counselor Kellyanne Conway stated. “The new Rural Community Toolbox is a manifestation of the commitment by President Trump, Vice President Pence and 16 Federal departments and agencies to help combat the scourge of drug addiction, improve access and quality of treatment, and ensure local leaders are equipped with resources to wage a frontline battle in the opioid and poly-drug crisis roiling our nation. The launch of the Rural Community Toolbox will bring relief and recovery to rural families and communities across the Nation by providing them with quick access to the resources they need to overcome this deadly epidemic we call The Crisis Next Door.”
“Rural America has suffered greatly from our country’s drug overdose crisis, and the Trump Administration and HHS have focused attention and resources on strengthening the rural response,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said. “I have been inspired by the commitment and resilience I’ve seen from rural communities fighting back against the crisis. We are equipping these communities with resources like the Rural Community Toolbox to help them continue the fight and connect Americans to evidence-based prevention and treatment services.”
“A healthy community has a stronger workforce, higher quality of life, and experiences the benefits of economic vitality,” Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. “Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities building healthier and happier futures because when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
The RCTB showcases the ongoing commitment of the Trump Administration to helping rural leaders overcome the unique challenges facing rural America in addressing the disease of addiction.
The RCTB also includes an update of the powerful Community Assessment Tool, an interactive data resource that provides rural leaders with county-level data about drug overdose deaths as well as some of the socioeconomic factors that may be driving local trends in substance use such as education and unemployment. Released in 2018, the Community Assessment Tool empowers communities with local data to build grassroots solutions to address addiction. The update released today includes new data layers on broadband availability, transportation, treatment facilities, healthcare professional shortage areas, economic development districts, and persistent poverty counties. The update also includes a rural prosperity index, which provides rural leaders with more information about community resiliency.
In July 2018, ONDCP and the Department of Agriculture convened a Federal Rural Interagency Working Group on Substance Use Disorder. The Rural Interagency Working Group developed a Federal Rural Resources Guide to provide rural leaders with a comprehensive listing of Federal programs that can be used to address opioid misuse in rural communities. The Guide was released in October 2018, and became the foundation of the Rural Community Toolbox. The Rural Interagency Working Group also contributed the relevant data to expand the scope of the Community Assessment Tool in the Rural Community Toolbox.
Click here to access the Rural Community Toolbox.
Click here to access the fact sheet about the Rural Community Toolbox.