UND Center for Rural Health, City-County Health District receive funding to combat opioid crisis

A bottle with a hydrocodone (the generic name for drug sold under other names by various pharmaceutical companies) label and hydrocodone tablets spilling out isolated on white background. Hydrocodone is a popular prescription semi-synthetic opioid that is used to treat moderate to severe pain. Hydrocodone is said to be one of the most common recreational prescription drugs in America.

A bottle with a hydrocodone (the generic name for drug sold under other names by various pharmaceutical companies) label and hydrocodone tablets spilling out isolated on white background. Hydrocodone is a popular prescription semi-synthetic opioid that is used to treat moderate to severe pain. Hydrocodone is said to be one of the most common recreational prescription drugs in America.

The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) recently announced that the Center for Rural Health (CRH) at the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences will receive $200,000 for the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Planning (RCORP). The aim of RCORP is to increase access to substance abuse prevention and treatment services serving rural populations across the country. The CRH, which is also the State Office of Rural Health for North Dakota, is one of 95 rural health organizations throughout the U.S. sharing the $19 million FORHP RCORP funding.

“The primary purpose of this one-year grant is to establish a strong consortium that will work together to identify areas of need in our rural communities and brainstorm a strong and sustainable plan for addressing those rural community needs around opioid use disorder prevention, treatment, or recovery,” said Shawnda Schroeder, principal investigator for the CRH project. “We already have 16 enthusiastic and engaged consortium members who bring diverse expertise in areas of rural emergency medical services, law enforcement, tribal and non-tribal treatment centers, public health, health economics, community health centers, Critical Access Hospitals, rural health clinics, state agencies, state behavioral health licensure data, family medicine, rural medical student education, and peer support services.”

In addition, the City-County Health District in Valley City, N.D., received a $250,000 Rural Health Opioid Program (RHOP) award from the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA). HRSA is awarding nearly $6.5 million to 26 rural organizations to expand the reach of RHOP. Grant recipients will use the funds to help community members struggling with opioid use find local treatment options and support services through partnerships with local healthcare providers and other community-based groups.

The RCORP funding is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) $1 billion in opioid-specific grants to help combat the crisis ravaging our country. The awards support HHS’s Five-Point Opioid Strategy, which was launched last year. New data unveiled recently by HHS suggests that efforts are now yielding progress at the national level.

The CRH, as the lead applicant for this proposal, will work with dedicated consortium members on this one-year project to develop and strengthen multi-sector collaborations that will lead to targeted interventions addressing specific opioid use disorder prevention, treatment, or recovery needs in high-risk rural North Dakota communities.