Hazlett hopes to expand opioid fight at White House
Anne Hazlett, the special assistant to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue who is leaving to become rural adviser in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said Friday she hopes to broaden her role in fighting opioid addiction in her new post.
Hazlett told The Hagstrom Report in a telephone interview that at USDA, she has focused on those programs that the department runs such as community facilities, telemedicine and housing, so that people being treated for addiction have a place to live.
In her new role, Hazlett said, she will work with a broader range of agencies, particularly the Health and Human Services Department, while continuing to coordinate USDA drug-fighting efforts.
One issue on which she did not work at USDA but hopes to address is the shortage of physical therapists in rural America. Many opioid addicts have told officials that they have been prescribed drugs to treat pain because physical therapists are so far away.
In rural America, “you can’t assume physical therapists are on every street corner,” Hazlett said.
Hazlett said one practice she developed at USDA will remain the same: working with local leaders.
“I quickly learned as I went out on the road that the solutions lie at the community level,” she said.