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Raleigh, NC September 22nd, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture will host an event entitled “Roundtable on the Opioid Epidemic in the Rural Southeast: Policies, Programs, & Progress” on Thursday September 29th, 2016 to discuss solutions to the rural opioid epidemic in North Carolina and to highlight the critical need for more treatment resources in rural communities. The roundtable is part of a series that USDA’s Farm Service Agency and Rural Development will host across the country throughout the Fall.  The event will take place at  the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Training Center located at 4710 Corporation Drive, Fayetteville, NC.  The event will begin at 9:30 am and conclude at 11:00am. The event will feature national, state and local stakeholders and experts.  The roundtable will be facilitated by USDA FSA State Executive Director, Bob Etheridge.

In January, President Obama appointed Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who serves as Chair of the White House Rural Council, to lead an interagency effort focused on this specific challenge in rural America. The President has proposed $1.1 billion in new funding to support states in expanding treatment options. North Carolina would be eligible for up to $27 million over two years to expand access to treatment for opioid use disorders.  Recently, Congress passed legislation aimed at addressing the crisis; however it did not provide any funding that would expand resources.

The presence of the media is requested.  Those wishing to participate in the meeting or persons with disabilities who require accommodations to attend should contact Nimasheena Burns, Public Affairs Specialist at Nimasheena.burns@nc.usda.gov or 919-875-4857.

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