The Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that there will be five distance learning and telemedicine grant awards. These will be used to address the ever growing opioids epidemic in rural central Appalachia and the surrounding areas. This is good new considering the fact that there has been growing concern especially from drug abuse rehabilitation organizations over the growing abuse of these drugs in areas similar to this one. This is one of the many results that can be noted from the decision by president Obama to task his secretary, who also chairs the White House Rural Council with finding solutions for the rural American drug addicts.
Expanding the access to telemedicine has been hailed as an important step in the fight against addiction especially in rural America. This is because in these areas, addiction treatment is often out of reach. One expert, Vilsack, has said that such a step would be vital when it comes to empowering the rural communities so that they have the required tools that are needed in the fight against opioids. Indeed, statistics show that in the rural areas, the access to treatment and rehabilitation options has a long way to go when compared to urban areas that are also established both economically and socially.
This announcement came in the wake of revelations that it would be part of a new round of measures that would see a major shift in the way people access information as well as any other help related to the fight against opioids. It has a budget of nearly 1.4 million dollars that would be directed to projects that will be conducted in five locations including Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee. Since the core aim of the projects is to assist rural areas to counter the opioids epidemic, most of the focus would be on breaking the barriers that have always made things too difficult for this to happen.
There two applications that were approved in Kentucky alone. These applications are estimated at over 720000 dollars and are supposed to be used to establish a network of telemedicine. This network will be tasked with providing treatment for medical conditions which include drug addiction and mental health. This has been hailed as major boost in the fight against this abuse and the residents hope that more such measures will be put in place too. According to statistics from major sources, such an approach is more likely to put an end to the menace when compared to most of the other approaches that have been used before.
The Baptist Health Foundation Corbin, Inc. was awarded a $377,121 grant by USDA specifically to help in connecting clinical specialists to ten health centers that are school based. It also will be used to connect to two primary care sites. Among the many services that this project will provide behavioral change and psychiatric care services. Most of these projects will be directed to areas where there is a higher percentage of poverty and so, they are the hope of many.