Warner, Kaine Announce More Than $300,000 To Help Rural Communities In Southwest Virginia Combat Opioid Epidemic

~ Funds will provide Virginia youth and families living in rural areas with health education to prevent opioid abuse ~

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will provide $321,638 to support health education initiatives spearheaded by the Virginia Cooperative Extension aimed at preventing opioid abuse among vulnerable communities in rural Southwest Virginia.  

“This grant will help educate young Virginians and other at-risk individuals about the growing risks of prescription drugs, which now claim as many as 60,000 lives every year,” said the Senators. “The funds will help empower rural communities in the fight against this growing health epidemic by promoting the responsible use of opioids and helping save lives.”

The grant will fund a project to target those individuals in rural Southwest Virginia who are most at risk of the negative effects of prescription opioids. Its goal is to provide prevention education for youth at a vulnerable stage in their development and their families in order to provide skills and support to make healthy decisions with drugs. The project will also target hospital patients to help make them aware of the dangers associated with use of opioid pain medications and provide access to support should they or a family member experience problems related to opioid use.

The grant is provided through NIFA’s Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grant Program, which seeks to address the needs of rural Americans through individual and family health education programs delivered via cooperative extension. The program assist relevant, evidence-based, non-formal education programs and services informed by the human, social, and behavioral sciences to promote and aggrandize rural health, strengthen economic vitality and, in the long run, mollify the effects of rural privation.

Virginia Cooperative Extension is an educational outreach program of Virginia's land-grant universities: Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, and a part of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

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