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Rural Response to the Opioid Epidemic



Application Deadline: Jul 26, 2019

Sponsoring Organizations

Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA),

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


Provides funding for rural communities to prevent and reduce opioid overdose deaths among individuals who come into contact with law enforcement or are involved with the criminal justice system in high-risk rural communities and regions. Helps rural communities plan and respond to public health risks related to opioid use and overdose. Enhances communities' abilities to understand and track substance use and overdose trends at the local level. Works with law enforcement and the criminal justice system to identify individuals at risk for opioid use and develop interventions to prevent and reduce overdose deaths. Projects are carried out in two phases: 6 months of planning the project and 18 months of implementing the project.

Desired outcomes from the Planning Phase include:

  • Securing the engagement of local leaders in the planning process and their commitment to implementation
  • Establishing an organizational structure or workgroup that meets regularly and at least 4 times during the planning phase to review data and set strategic direction for the project
  • Establishing preliminary focus areas for the workgroup, such as identifying specific geographic areas or high-risk populations
  • Developing a final budget and receiving budget approval from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)

For the Implementation Phase, grantees are required to select one or more program activities from each of three mandatory funding categories. One or more activities from a fourth, optional funding category may also be selected:

  • Mandatory Funding Category 1 - Strengthening public health surveillance and health data infrastructure:
    • Track emergency department and hospital admissions for drug overdoses and other opioid-related indicators
    • Establish an overdose fatality review team or enhance an existing review team
    • Conduct rapid assessment to quickly gather data in response to a question or crisis requiring timely intervention, such as a spike in overdoses
    • Collaborate with medical examiners or coroners to expedite access to preliminary data on suspected overdose deaths prior to forensic toxicology data
    • Implement the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMAP) mobile tool to track and analyze opioid overdose across communities in near-real time
    • Establish systems to identify infants and children impacted by parental opioid use
  • Mandatory Funding Category 2 - Implementing community-level opioid overdose prevention activities:
    • Provide training and information on the impact of substance abuse on children, youth, and families to schools and other youth-serving organizations
    • Increase and support use of evidence-based substance use prevention programs in schools and enhance community education on the risks of illicit and prescription opioids and on properly administering naloxone
    • Deploy a strategic public health campaign for targeted populations and professions
    • Engage community and faith-based organizations to use evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery messages
    • Provide naloxone, education, and technical assistance to individuals in key public and private institutions and organizations in the community
    • Implement year-round drug take-back programs
  • Mandatory Funding Category 3 - Establishing or enhancing public health, behavioral health, and public safety collaborations:
    • Support outreach teams to follow up with individuals at risk of overdose
    • Develop partnerships among public safety/first responder agencies and school/community sectors to identify risk from adverse childhood experiences and connect individuals and families to resources
    • Establish court-based intervention programs or family court programming to prioritize services for individuals at high risk for overdose
    • Develop and implement a comprehensive plan to reduce overdose death and enhance treatment and recovery services among pre-trial and post-trial populations leaving jails and secure residential treatment facilities
    • Establish a coordinated rapid response team to respond to spikes in overdoses, overdose deaths, or emerging drug threats
    • Facilitate early and rapid identification of families who have been referred to child protective services in need of substance use disorder treatment and other services
    • Expand or enhance effective models of care for young children living in households with a history of substance misuse
  • Optional Funding Category - Expanding peer recovery and recovery support services:
    • Improve the availability and coordination of transportation services to connect rural residents to recovery and support services
    • Provide transitional or recovery housing as part of a comprehensive response strategy
    • Develop recovery communities, recovery coaches, and recovery community organizations (RCOs) to expand the availability of and access to recovery support services

No more than 25% of the total grant award can go toward optional funding category activities.

Amount of Funding

Award ceiling: $750,000 per project period
Project period: 2 years
Estimated number of awards: 8

Who Can Apply

Applications may be submitted by:

  • A unit of local government or a federally recognized Indian tribal government
  • A unit of local government on behalf of a multi-county region within a state
  • Nonprofit or for-profit organizations, including tribal nonprofits, faith-based and community-based organizations with a documented history of serving rural communities or regions highly impacted by substance use disorder

Current COAP site-based grantees are eligible to apply.

Applicant proposals must exclusively target populations residing in rural communities or rural census tracts in urban or suburban counties, as defined by the HRSA Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer. The applicant does not need to be physically located in the rural areas served by the grant but must have staffing and infrastructure necessary to oversee program activities and ensure that local control for the award is vested in the target rural community. Applicants must be able to convene an interdisciplinary workgroup that is representative of rural entities.

Priority is given to rural regions previously selected for the HRSA Rural Communities Opioid Response Program – Planning initiative (RCORP-Planning). This applies both to the actual RCORP-Planning award recipients and to organizations that are serving a geographic area covered by an R-CORP-Planning grant.

Two or more organizations may collaborate to carry out the federal award. However, only one organization may be the applicant. The applicant organization must have primary responsibility for the grant.

Geographic Coverage


What This Program Funds

Capacity Building • New Program • Operating Costs and Staffing

Application Process

Application instructions, requirements, and other information about the online application process are available online.


For program questions:

Rural Awards

Examples of past awards rural communities have received are described on the program website.

Topics This Program Addresses

Community Planning and Coalition Building • Harm Reduction • Justice System • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) • Naloxone • Opioids • Overdose Prevention • Pain Management and Opioid Prescribing • Recovery • Substance Use Disorder • Treatment