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Substance Use and Misuse in Rural Areas – Models and Innovations

These stories feature model programs and successful rural projects that can serve as a source of ideas and provide lessons others have learned. Some of the projects or programs may no longer be active. Read about the criteria and evidence-base for programs included.

Other Project Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy funded by the Health Resources Services Administration Project Renew
Updated/reviewed July 2019
  • Need: To reduce deaths due to opioid overdose in rural southeast West Virginia.
  • Intervention: Project Renew trained and certified first responders, healthcare staff, and laypeople in naloxone administration.
  • Results: From April to June 2019, Project Renew has provided direct education to 120 individuals, completed 173 provider education activities, and distributed 260 Narcan kits.
Project VISION
Updated/reviewed July 2019
  • Need: To reduce opioid use and increase quality of life in Rutland, Vermont.
  • Intervention: Project VISION works to reduce opioid use through community engagement.
  • Results: Since 2012, Project VISION has collected and disposed of 550 pounds of unused medications, reduced thefts by over 32%, and had a 50% improvement on a neighborhood quality of life survey.
Seneca Strong's Certified Recovery Peer Advocates
Added June 2019
  • Need: Like many Native American populations, the Seneca Nation of Indians has experienced disproportionate rates of opioid, alcohol, and substance misuse.
  • Intervention: The Seneca Nation Government and Executives founded Seneca Strong, a cultural recovery peer advocate program, to try to reduce substance misuse across the Nation.
  • Results: Since the start of the program, 300 people have received help from recovery peer advocates. Seneca Strong has since extended to meet the needs of Allegany and Cattaraugus territories.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy MIST: Mothers and Infants Sober Together
Updated/reviewed May 2019
  • Need: To address the needs of pregnant women who are using substances and infants born into drug-positive families.
  • Intervention: The Mothers and Infants Sober Together (MIST) program assisted mothers who used substances get treatment and provide a safe, drug-free home for themselves and their newborn.
  • Results: MIST has helped mothers find treatment and education and has helped children grow up in safe and healthy homes.
School-based Drug Misuse Prevention Program
Added March 2019
  • Need: School-based drug misuse prevention program in Appalachian Ohio, a need triggered by a high school student's overdose death.
  • Intervention: Implementation of the HOPE curriculum, an age-appropriate K through 12th grade drug abuse prevention program.
  • Results: No further drug overdose deaths after curriculum initiated.
Foundations Family Medicine's HIV, HCV, Opioid and Substance Use Disorder Services
Added November 2018
  • Need: Due to the opioid crisis, Austin, Indiana has seen the largest concentrated outbreak of HIV in rural America's recent history. Since 2015, over 200 residents have been diagnosed with the virus.
  • Intervention: Foundations Family Medicine began offering testing and treatment services for HIV, hepatitis C, and opioid/substance use disorder. Education, care coordination and behavioral health services were also offered as an integrated part of their primary care clinic.
  • Results: Although the virus continues to spread throughout Scott County, the rate has significantly decreased, outdoing national suppression rates by a large margin (76% compared to national average of 49%).

Last Updated: 7/31/2019