RIZE develops a program to combat racism and opioid addiction

October 20, 2020

By El Planeta

RIZE Massachusetts, a nonprofit foundation working to end the opioid overdose epidemic in Massachusetts, announced Thursday, October 15, that it will invest nearly $ 1.1 million in grant programs designed to improve racial equity in healthcare and to continue supporting opioid harm reduction services.

The foundation created Innovations in Anti-Racism to Address the Opioid Overdose Crisis, a new $ 600,000 grant scheme designed to reduce racism in the healthcare system and improve access to addiction treatment for African American, Latino and Indian populations.

The foundation also expanded its Enabling Health: Enhancing Harm Reduction Services in Massachusetts grant program and will distribute an additional $ 490,171 to six recipients.

“The coronavirus pandemic has further exposed the complexities of the opioid overdose epidemic and the difficulties faced by communities and individuals living with opioid use disorder,” said Julie Burns, Executive Director of RIZE.

According to Burns, the creation of the grant program “will provide tools to better support vulnerable and underserved people during these difficult times.”

The $ 600,000 Innovations in Anti-Racism grant program includes $ 25,000 development phase grants awarded to four organizations to scale up intervention in opioid harm reduction, treatment or recovery programs. The beneficiaries are:

• Boston Public Health Commission: Will use the grant to create a comprehensive awareness and information initiative on smoking and inhaling safer, specifically targeting African-American, Latino, and Indian drug users.

• Casa Esperanza: funds will be to expand the use of the language access application of the Comprehensive Healthcare Improvement Support System – Spanish (CASA-CHESS) to address racial and ethnic disparities in access to treatment for the Disorder. Substance Use (SUD), reduce isolation among Spanish speakers, strengthen recovery networks and disseminate information about COVID-19.

• Codman Square Health Center: Will use the grant to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment of its SUD services through the lens of racial justice, including examining how workflows and protocols are determined; what services may be missing; and to what extent the community they serve is involved.

• Prisoner Legal Services: will use the funds to plan an innovative state project that will advocate for evidence-based access to SUD for incarcerated individuals as a necessary model of public health treatment and racial equity. The project is a medical advocacy partnership with residents and the Boston Medical Center School of Internal Medicine.