Recently, Mark Farley, Upper Cumberland Development District and Human Resource Agency Executive Director, was appointed to the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Substance Abuse Advisory Council (SAAC), a 24-member volunteer advisory group of leaders from law enforcement, recovery services, health, economic development, private industry, education, state government and other sectors. Members of ARC’s Substance Abuse Advisory Council were selected in partnership with the Governor’s office in each of their respective states.

The SAAC will meet throughout the summer and present recommendations to the ARC during the Commission meeting in September. The SAAC will also make recommendations on recovery ecosystems which emphasizes employment options that can be a key factor in substance abuse recovery. According to the ARC, the 2017 death rate for opioid overdoses in Appalachian counties was an astounding 72 percent higher than non-Appalachian counties. Often individuals recovering from substance abuse have valuable skills which could benefit some of our top employers in the Upper Cumberland.

The Appalachian Regional Commission ( is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.

The Upper Cumberland Development District provides regional planning and assistance to the 14-county Upper Cumberland region to promote economic growth and community enhancement. Find UCDD on the web at and at