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Proposed Legislation would shift USDA funding to combat opioid epidemic

Some members of Congress are backing legislation that would allow rural communities to use USDA resources to address the opioid epidemic.

Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos and Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly are proposing bills that would shift certain USDA resources to substance-abuse treatment and other initiatives. The proposed legislation would set aside 20 percent of USDAs telemedicine grant funding and prioritize grant program applications focused on substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery services.

Bustos says rural communities are facing an addiction epidemic and Congress needs to provide resources to help small towns access health care and the tools needed to combat drug abuse and overdoses.

The proposed legislation also has Republican support. Senate Ag Chairman Pat Roberts and member Luther Strange have signed on to support the measure in the Senate and House Ag Committee members Rick Crawford, Roger Marshall, Ann McLane Kuster, and Dwight Evans support the House version.

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