FROM THE APPALACHIAN REGIONAL COMMISSION
Last week, the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released a Community Action Guide, with promising practices for a range of issues related to drug addiction in rural America and recommended action steps for communities addressing these issues. The Guide also includes insight from Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) on the impact addiction has on economic development specifically in Appalachia. Using this resource, local leaders can learn more about the resources available to help combat the crisis and help change the narrative about substance abuse in rural areas.
“The purpose of the Rural Community Action Guide is to arm rural leaders with information they can put into immediate action to create change. The urgency of this issue and its impact on quality of life and economic opportunity in rural America demands nothing less,” said Anne C. Hazlett, Senior Advisor for Rural Affairs at ONDCP, in introducing the resource.
In September, ARC formally accepted a slate of recommendations put forth by ARC’s Substance Abuse Advisory Council (SAAC), a 24-member volunteer group of leaders from recovery services, health, economic development, private industry, education, state government, law enforcement, and other sectors representing each of the Region’s 13 states addressing the workforce impacts of Appalachia’s substance abuse epidemic. The recommendations included supporting community pilot projects addressing common Appalachian recovery-to-work issues; developing and disseminating an employer best practices “toolkit” to educate employers and human resource experts in recruiting, selecting, managing, and retaining employees who are in recovery; and assembling a playbook of solutions for communities addressing common ecosystems gaps and services barriers. ARC is continuing work on how to implement these recommendations and other strategies.