Issue Brief: Health Disparities Related to Opioid Misuse in Appalachia, Practical Strategies and Recommendations for Communities

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The Appalachian Region continues to experience higher rates of opioid misuse and overdose deaths than other parts of the country. While the impact of the burgeoning epidemic is being felt nationwide, states and counties within the Appalachian Region are particularly hard hit, with opioid overdose rates more than double national averages. Drawing on the research presented in the health disparities and Bright Spot reports, this brief: ■ summarizes statistics on opioid misuse and overdose deaths in Appalachian communities, ■ discusses key strategies and resources for addressing opioid misuse and overdose deaths, and ■ provides recommendations for community leaders, funders, and policymakers. This brief features promising practices, intervention strategies, and policy development and implementation ideas to reduce health disparities related to opioid misuse and overdose deaths. This brief discusses five recommendations in detail: 1. Prevent opioid misuse. 2. Increase access to treatment for opioid use disorder. 3. Implement harm reduction strategies to reduce the consequences of opioid use disorder. 4. Support long-term recovery of opioid use disorder. 5. Implement community-based solutions to prevent substance misuse.