RHA to receive grant to address Substance Use Disorder

Rural Health Association of Tennessee (RHA) has been awarded a $1million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services to combat Substance Use Disorder (SUD) in rural Tennessee over the next three years.

The announcement comes during National Recovery Month – an observance to bring public awareness surrounding mental health and addiction recovery. Tennessee, via the Behavioral Health Safety Network, prevention coalitions, and other change agents, have achieved many successes toward reducing Substance Use Disorder in the state. Most notably, opioid prescriptions have decreased statewide, resulting in fewer deaths involving opioids obtained through a prescription. Targeted prevention, treatment, and recovery programs do work.

Though Tennessee has much to be proud of, there is still significant work to be done. Deaths involving nonprescription opioids and stimulants continues to increase year after year. According to Tennessee’s Annual Overdose Report 2021, the age-adjusted rate of all drug overdose deaths increased from 22.1 per 100,000 residents in 2015 to of 31.2 per 100,000 residents in 2019 (a 41.2% increase). The same report says that TN showed a 22% increase in opioid overdoses from 2019 to 2020 and significant increases through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rural Health Association of Tennessee (RHA) is a 501c3 membership organization of individuals and organizations committed to improving the health of rural Tennesseans. The organization has developed a Tennessee Rural Community Opioid Response Program (TN-RCORP) consortium aimed at reducing the prevalence of SUD by 5% over the next three years.

“We are honored to be recognized as a leader in this work and look forward to directing much needed resources to rural communities” says Jacy Warrell, Executive Director of RHA. “Our hope is to support our members and others in rural Tennessee who have not had access to grant dollars to tackle this issue.”

Individuals and organizations interested in supporting the goals of this project can sign a pledge at www.tnruralhealth.org/TNRCORP to receive event announcements, resources, and other relevant information.


Rural Health Association of Tennessee (RHA of TN) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization with more than 600 members committed to improving the health of rural Tennesseans by providing leadership through advocacy, education, and service. Visit www.tnruralhealth.org for information on how to become a member.

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