USDA to Host Roundtable Discussion on Opioid Misuse: Rural Development Has Resources to Help

USDA Rural Development State Director Dr. Carrie Castille will facilitate a USDA Opioid Roundtable Discussion to help address the nation’s growing opioid epidemic April 13, at 1:30 pm at the LITE Auditorium, 537 Cajundome Blvd in Lafayette. 

“USDA has resources to help rural communities fight opioid addiction,” Castille said. “In October 2017, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report revealed that deaths from drug overdoses in rural areas have now surpassed drug overdose death rates in urban areas. There are no signs that the numbers are dropping or even leveling off, which is why partnering with rural leaders to address this crisis is critical to the future of Louisiana.”

Key topics will include challenges associated with substance use disorder; strategies for prevention, treatment and recovery; and how these measures can be replicated to effectively address the epidemic in other rural communities. 

Throughout the day, top leaders in healthcare will discuss the opioid epidemic and how to manage usage, treatment and prevention. The USDA RD Opioid Roundtable Discussion confirmed speakers are:

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, MD.

Dr. Carrie Castille, USDA Rural Development State Director

Betty-Anne Bryce, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Asst. to the Secretary for Rural Development

Dr. Esteban Gershanik, Louisiana Department of Health Chief Information Officer and Health Informatics Director for the Office of Public Health

Dr. Rebekah Gee, Secretary, Louisiana Department of Health

Dr. Vincent Culotta, Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Family Practice Residency Program

Karen Stubbs, Assistant Secretary of the Office of Behavioral Health, Louisiana Department of Health

The Hon. Judge Blair Edwards, 21st Judicial District Juvenile Drug Court Judge

Randy Henagan – Louisiana Department of Justice - Attorney General’s Office

Lee Jones, USDA Rural Development Assistant State Director

USDA is an important partner to rural communities addressing this national emergency. The Department is investing in treatment facilities and services, e-Connectivity and telemedicine, and public education efforts. In addition to program investment, USDA is helping communities share information about best practices to address the crisis. Visit USDA’s Rural Opioid Misuse webpage for more information.

The USDA Opioid Roundtable Discussion is in conjunction with the Opioid Healthcare Summit. Stakeholders interested in attending can register at This event is hosted by the Center for Business & Information Technologies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

ULL will also kick-off the CajunCodeFest. The CajunCodeFest is looking for the next innovative idea, app, software, device, etc. focusing on the opioid healthcare exploring use treatment and prevention. Find out more