Authorized by 7 U.S.C.
§950aaa, the DLT Program provides financial assistance to enable and improve distance learning and telemedicine services in rural areas.
DLT grant funds support the use of telecommunications-enabled information, audio and video equipment, and related advanced
technologies by students, teachers, medical professionals, and rural residents.
These grants are intended to increase rural access to education, training, and health care resources that are otherwise unavailable or limited in scope.
In March 2018, Congress explicitly appropriated an additional $20 million for the DLT Program in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, Pub.
115-141, § 775 (2018) "to help address the opioid epidemic in rural America." Approximately half of this funding was awarded in FY 2018 to DLT projects that had opioid treatment as their primary purpose.
For the remaining funds, the Agency is soliciting applications that specifically support treatment for, and prevention of, opioid use disorder in rural areas.
Applications submitted under this announcement should address how they will strengthen local capacity to address one or more of the following focus areas:
1. Prevention—for example, educating community members and care providers or implementing harm reduction strategies to reduce the number of fatal opioid-related overdoses and the occurrence of opioid use disorder among new and at-risk users.
2. Treatment—for example, implementing or expanding access to evidence-based practices for opioid use disorder treatment, such as medication-assisted treatment.
3. Recovery—for example, expanding peer recovery and treatment options that help people with opioid use disorder start recovery and avoid relapse.
In the context of the national opioid crisis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified 220 counties and jurisdictions that are vulnerable to infection or disease outbreak due to injection drug use (hereinafter at-risk counties).
Under this grant opportunity, the Agency is prioritizing assistance for rural areas in these at-risk counties.
Applications with end-user sites that are in one or more of the at-risk counties will receive additional points in the competitive scoring process.
These at-risk counties are listed in section E of this announcement, the FY 2019 DLT Grant Program – Opioid Application Guide (Application Guide), and the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/pwid/vulnerable-counties-data.html.
The regulation for the DLT Program can be found at 7 CFR part 173 4. All applicants should carefully review and prepare their applications according to instructions in the Application Guide and program resources.
The Application Guide can be found at https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/distance-learning-telemedicine-grants.
Be sure to use the Application Guide that has "Opioid" in the title.
Expenses incurred in developing applications will be at the applicant’s own risk.