Yesterday, the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy awarded $24 million to 40 states for the second round of Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) planning grants. Missouri will receive six awards totaling $1,200,000 for one year to formalize partnerships with local stakeholders, conduct needs assessments, and develop plans to implement and sustain substance use disorder (SUD), including opioid use disorder (OUD), prevention, treatment, and recovery interventions.
“RCORP-Planning is part of a multi-year initiative by HRSA to support treatment for and prevention of SUD/OUD,” said HRSA Administrator George Sigounas, MS, Ph.D. “The goal is to reduce the morbidity and mortality of the diseases in high-risk rural communities.”
For FY19, in addition to the RCORP-Planning awards, HRSA anticipates awarding 75 RCORP-Implementation grants and 11 RCORP-MAT Expansion grants that will focus on enhancing SUD/OUD service delivery in rural communities. Additionally, HRSA is awarding four cooperative agreements to include one for evaluation activities, and three Rural Centers of Excellence on Substance Use Disorders. All RCORP grantees, including the current RCORP-Planning recipients, are supported by the RCORP-Technical Assistance cooperative agreement, which was awarded in FY18.
Current FY18 RCORP-Planning award recipients have built broad, multisector consortia to identify and address a wide range of needs in their communities, including school-based prevention, recovery support services, and referral systems for SUD/OUD treatment.
“Rural communities continue to face several challenges in accessing SUD/OUD prevention, treatment, and recovery services,” said Associate Administrator for the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Tom Morris. “Over half of rural counties nationwide lack a provider who is waivered to prescribe buprenorphine, and on average, rural opioid users are more likely to be uninsured, less educated, and lower income than their urban counterparts.”
Rural communities also face workforce shortages, geographic barriers, limited treatment infrastructure, and stigma associated with SUD/OUD.