Rural Opioid and Direct Support Services (ROADSS)
Facts to Move Forward
Rural and Appalachian communities have been hard hit by opioid use disorder (OUD)
- Nearly 50% of rural Americans, and 74% of farmers, have been directly impacted by non-medical opioid use.1
- In 2017, the death rate for opioid overdoses in Appalachian counties was 72% higher than in non-Appalachian counties.2
OUD is a treatable disease
- OUD is a treatable chronic disease that changes an individual’s brain circuitry, creating a physical dependence on opioids.
- Medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) such as methadone are an effective treatment for OUD that help the brain function in a healthy way again.
- Methadone lessens withdrawal symptoms and cravings for opioids.3
Access to MOUD is critical
- Experts agree that improving access to opioid treatment programs (OTPs) is critical for rural communities to fight the opioid crisis.4
Methadone saves lives
- Methadone maintenance programs have reduced deaths among people with OUD by approximately 50%.
Methadone maintenance programs have wide-ranging benefits
- They reduce drug-related crime, decrease HIV and hepatitis infections, and support retention in treatment programs.5
- Individuals with OUD may have complex physical and mental health needs involving frequent use of services and high costs.
- In addition to providing MOUD, OTPs coordinate patients’ care, addressing a range of health and social needs efficiently.6
There are myths about methadone—and these resources show they are just that: myths
- Medication for Opioid Use Disorder: Myths and Facts, Legal Action Center, June 2021
- Myth vs. Facts: The Truth about Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction, American Addiction Centers, May 22, 2015
 American Farm Bureau Federation & National Farmers Union. (n.d.). Rural opioid epidemic. American Farm Bureau Federation. Retrieved September 28, 2021.
 National Association of Counties. (n.d.). Opioids in Appalachia: The role of counties in reversing a regional epidemic. Retrieved September 28, 2021.
 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2019). Medications for opioid use disorder save lives. National Academies Press, pp. 2-5; National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, January). Treatment approaches for drug addiction. DrugFacts. Retrieved September 28, 2021.
 Johnson, Q., Mund, B., & Joudrey, P.J. (2018). Improving rural access to opioid treatment programs. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 46(2), 437-439.
 Schuckit, M. A. (2016). Treatment of opioid-use disorders. New England Journal of Medicine, 375(4), 357-368.
 Stoller, K. B., Stephens, M. A. C., & Schorr, A. (2016). Integrated service delivery models for opioid treatment programs in an era of increasing opioid addiction, health reform, and parity [White paper]. American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence.