By Gail Hairston
In recent years, much federal funding has been earmarked to help find solutions to the opioid use and overdose crisis in the nation’s rural regions. The effort has included a focus on coal-impacted Appalachian states, including Kentucky.
Rising overdose deaths and substance use disorder treatment rates in many rural communities indicate sharp increases in opioid use, resulting in high rates of opioid use disorder, injection drug use, and unmet needs for treatment services. These dramatic increases have led to high rates of opioid overdoses, as well as large increases in acute HCV (hepatitis C virus) infections and the potential for localized HIV and continued HCV transmission.
Federally funded projects work with state and local communities to develop best practice responses to opioid injection epidemics that can be implemented by public