White House Drug Advisor Visits Arizona, Focuses On Opioid Crisis In Rural America

By Will Stone
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - 6:21pm
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2019 - 9:33am
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Anne Hazlett (second from left) met with staff of Scottsdale outpatient treatment center True Solutions Health.

A top advisor to President Donald Trump’s newly confirmed drug czar says rural communities are a priority in the fight against the country’s drug overdose crisis.

On Wednesday, Anne Hazlett, assistant to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary for Rural Development, met with health care professionals and those who work on addiction recovery in Arizona.

Hazlett’s visit comes as she prepares to assume her new post as senior adviser at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

At the USDA, Hazlett worked on coordinating the federal response to the opioid epidemic and expanding access to key interventions in rural areas.

“We start with the premise that people who live in rural America will have the same needs,” Hazlett said. “The challenge we have is that the resources are often not the same.”

On her trip to Arizona, Hazlett visited a Scottsdale treatment center, True Solutions, which offers medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder.

She said the Trump administration is a “strong supporter” of such evidence-based treatment and will explore ideas like telemedicine that could expand access to those living in rural America.

 “Transportation is often a challenge,” she said. “We talked about whether some of that [need] can be met through technology like telehealth — those are innovations we need to explore.”