For months, we’ve been discussing the rise in U.S. addictions since the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Quarantines, job losses and other stressors have significantly impacted Americans; driving them to use in larger quantities. Interestingly, some data has shown that rural communities are the most impacted by this. Perhaps because of that, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (also known as ONDCP) has now created a “Community Toolbox” program to help officials in those regions steer their residents toward recovery.
Via a national press release, the ONDCP outlined the goal of this new program and how they hope it can make a difference. Officially know as the Rural Community Toolbox (or RCTB), its purpose is to “connect rural leaders with funding, data and information to combat drug addiction in rural America.”
16 different Federal departments and agencies are helping to support the cause, with over 40 key topics addressed within the official RCTB website. Items covered include local treatment center info, online chat support, community assessment checklists and a rural community action guide. ONDCP Director Jim Carroll spoke out about the program, which he has high hopes for.
“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,” Jim Carroll stated in the press release. “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.”
Though Donald Trump was not quoted in the release, several of his highest ranking officials were. Senior Counselor Kellyanne Conway spoke on behalf of the president, emphasizing that the program has his full support.
“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,” she added. “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.”
There is no doubt that addictions are striking communities of every size and scale during this pandemic. So any and all federal help that’s made available is welcome. For more details on the Rural Community Toolbox program, click here.