Thursday, Senator Joe Donnelly welcomed the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announcement that the agency will give funding priority in two key grant programs to help combat the opioid epidemic in rural communities. USDA will be giving priority funding to Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant (DLT) Program applications that will provide opioid prevention, treatment, or recovery services. The agency is also reserving $5 million in the Community Facilities Grant Program for grants for facilities that will help provide a local response to the challenges of opioid addiction. This strategy is based on Donnelly’s bipartisan and bicameral rural opioids legislative package introduced last year. The bipartisan government funding bill signed into law last month included dedicated funding for addressing opioids in rural communities, based on Donnelly’s bipartisan rural opioid package. Funding for these programs is now available.
Donnelly said, “Dedicated resources to address the opioid crisis in rural communities are now available as a result of the government funding bill enacted last month. I am proud that the bill funds grant programs that are part of my bipartisan rural opioid package and am pleased USDA is prioritizing funding in two key areas: community facilities that will help with the local response and telemedicine and distance learning. I am hopeful these resources will make a difference in the fight to confront this public health crisis harming rural communities in Indiana and across the country.”
Applications for Community Facilities grants in Indiana must be submitted by June 4, 2018 through the USDA Rural Development state office. The deadline for Distance Learning and Telemedicine grants is also June 4, 2018 and must be submitted electronically at Grants.gov.
Donnelly previously introduced a bipartisan package of legislation aimed at combating substance use disorders in rural communities. Donnelly’s bills would help these communities by directing a pair of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs to focus their efforts on providing the facilities and access to telemedicine needed to prevent and treat substance use disorder, including the opioid epidemic.