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The Rural Responses Initiative

While no corner of the country has gone untouched by the opioid epidemic, rural America has been hit particularly hard. The Rural Responses Initiative is designed to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with opioid overdoses among individuals who come in contact with law enforcement or are involved in the criminal justice system in high-risk rural communities and regions.

This initiative, co-funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the State Justice Institute, supports a six-month planning phase for 21 sites to identify current gaps in prevention, treatment, and/or recovery services for individuals who encounter the criminal justice system within the target rural service area.

During the 18-month implementation phase, the sites will initiate new activities or augment existing efforts to strengthen epidemiologic surveillance and public health data infrastructure, implement effective community-level opioid overdose prevention activities, and establish or enhance public safety, public health, and behavioral health collaborations. Sites may also elect to leverage funding to expand peer recovery and recovery support services that help people start and stay in recovery.

Reducing overdose deaths in rural communities by strengthening public safety, public health, and behavioral health partnerships and enhancing their capacity to implement intervention strategies.