Home Indiana Agriculture News USDA Rural Development Offers Opioid Epidemic Resources

USDA Rural Development Offers Opioid Epidemic Resources



Learning more about the opioid crisis in Indiana and throughout the U.S. and its effect on agriculture and rural communities is the topic of a symposium presented by AgrIInstitute and many Hoosier partners on January 5th at the Boone County Fairgrounds. The event’s closing speaker is Anne Hazlett, USDA Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development and former Indiana ag department director. The opioid epidemic is one of the issues she and her staff work on every day.

“We will be looking to meet communities where they are and assist them with best practices and the issues that they need really to build on in their own setting for prosperity in their future,” Hazlett said. “Many of these challenges are broad and complex. They bring in issues of quality of life, the need for economic opportunity and innovation.”

Tackling the epidemic requires communities to stop and chart a new vision, according to Hazlett. When they make that turn, she says the new Innovation Center at Rural Development is there to help.

“Having a resource like the Innovation Center will assist them both in capacity building as well as resourced and best practices from other communities that they might be able to build from.”

Hazlett says an Indiana community is one of those helping with best practices that might work elsewhere too.

“Some of the lessons learned in Scott County for example,” she said. “I know that Purdue Extension is involved in a program called Strengthening Families and that program has been very successful in that community and other communities around the country, and that is a resource, a structure if you will, that can be lifted up and carried into other communities.”

Another former ISDA director, Gina Sheets, was recently named Rural Development Chief Innovation Officer and is heading up the Innovation Center.

The Ag Industry and Rural Community Opioid Addiction Symposium is January 5, 2018 at the Boone County Fairgrounds, Witham Exhibition Hall, 1300 100 S Lebanon, IN from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

The schedule:

8:00 a.m. Registration Open

8:30 a.m. Opening/Welcome-Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch

9:00 a.m. Sam Quinones, author, Dreamland, The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic

10: 00 a.m. What are the Facts and Why Should I Care? Moderator:  Deena Dodd, Indiana Rural Health Assoc.

Panel Members: Kevin Moore, Division Director, Div. Mental Health and Addiction

Court Appointed Special Advocates, Lisa Suttle, Reid Hospital, Dan Krouse, MidWest Poultry Services and Doug Payne, Farmer, Brown County

Noon, Lunch (included) Jim McClelland, Executive Director for Drug Prevention, Treatment and Enforcement, Office of Governor Eric J. Holcomb

1:00 p.m. What Works and How can we make a difference?

Cameo Presentations

Senator Jim Merritt, District 31, Legislative/Policy Opportunities

Deena Dodd, IN Rural Health Assoc., Needle Exchange Programs

Sheriff Mike Nielson, Boone County Sheriff’s Dept. Jail Treatment and Enforcement Solutions

Stephanie Woodcox, Program Leader/Extension Specialist – Health & Wellness, Purdue University, Strengthen Families Program & Mental Health First Aid

Sonya Carrico, Substance Abuse Services Division Director, Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, Local Coordinating Councils

Katrina Norris, Director of Behavioral Health & Addiction Services, Fayette Regional, Opioid Treatment Program Facilities

John Ferguson and Americorp Team, UW Central IN, Needs assessment and Asset Mapping

Amnah Anwar, Indiana Rural Opioid Consortium (InROC), Opioid Consortium

4:00 p.m. Anne Hazlett, Asst. to Secretary for Rural Development, USDA