FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Michelle McKenzie, Ball Consulting Group, LLC
Phone: 617-243-9950; Email: email@example.com
RIZE Massachusetts Receives $2 Million in FY2024 State Budget
Appropriation Builds on Previous Investments and Will Bolster the Addiction Treatment Workforce and Increase Equitable Access to Care and Harm Reduction Programs
August 9, 2023
RIZE Massachusetts, an independent nonprofit foundation working to end the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts, received a $2 million appropriation to support its efforts to combat the overdose crisis in the state’s fiscal 2024 budget signed into law today by Gov. Maura Healey.
Funds will support RIZE’s strategic initiatives and grantmaking endeavors, including efforts to increase the understanding and utilization of harm reduction practices that are known to save lives. These programs seek to address the increase of opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts. In June, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported an all-time high in overdose deaths of 2,357 in 2022, a 2.5 percent increase from the previous peak in 2021.
“The Legislature recognizes the devastating impact that the opioid epidemic has had on communities in Massachusetts, as well as the critical role that organizations like RIZE Massachusetts play in the effort to reduce the number of opioid-related overdose deaths,” said House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano (D-Quincy). “I want to thank the folks at RIZE Massachusetts for the ever-important work that they continue to do, work that the Legislature is incredibly proud to support with funding.”
Among RIZE’s ongoing projects are a study to validate the accuracy of xylazine test strips, a grant initiative supporting organizations striving to increase access and equity in opioid use disorder care, and a paid internship program designed to train social work students in the principles of harm reduction. RIZE’s initiatives are developed using insights gained from the foundation’s first six years and are guided by those with lived experience and who are unafraid of new ideas.
“As we build back from the pandemic, we continue to make critical strides in our fight to end the overdose crisis in Massachusetts, working to increase access and equity, bolster our fatigued workforce, and increase the uptake of harm reduction services,” said Julie Burns, President and CEO of RIZE. “We are grateful to the Massachusetts Legislature and the Healey-Driscoll Administration for their continued recognition of the seriousness of this crisis and support of our work to end it. This funding will allow us to stay abreast of the evolving realities on the ground, enabling us to invest where the need is greatest.”
“Substance use disorder continues to be an epidemic that the Commonwealth faces each and every day. Despite years of efforts, many still face difficult barriers to seeking the treatment they need,” said Rep. Aaron Michlewitz (D-Boston), Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means. “The critical funds secured through the budget process will be essential to helping remove these barriers for those in need of better treatment options. I applaud RIZE for their tireless work in this area and for their commitment to equity as we work towards recovery and better treatment outcomes for everyone.”
“I’m thrilled that the Legislature recognized, as I do, the vital role this foundation plays in fighting to end the overdose epidemic and opioid-related deaths in the Commonwealth,” said Sen. Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “The dedicated team at RIZE does a tremendous job providing life changing addiction treatment and mental health support services. These funds will go a long way in combatting the overdose crisis we still face in Massachusetts.”
The budget amendment was introduced by Rep. Dan Hunt (D-Boston) and championed by several members of the Legislature who recognize the severity of the opioid overdose epidemic in Massachusetts and the need for a public-private partnership to find effective solutions.
“I am grateful to Speaker Mariano, Chair Michlewitz and many of my colleagues for their support to prioritize this crucial funding,” said Rep. Hunt, who chairs the House Committee on Human Resources and Employee Engagement. “Addiction does not discriminate and neither should we when it comes to treatment options. RIZE continues to meet the challenges of our most vulnerable residents by providing uninhibited access to innovative and evidence-based options that lead to a successful recovery.”
About RIZE Massachusetts
RIZE Massachusetts is the only public-private partnership solely dedicated to funding and creating solutions to end the overdose crisis. Guided by those with lived experience and unafraid of new ideas, RIZE is building networks, designing programming, and supporting community partners who are using novel approaches to preventing overdose. Since 2017, RIZE has granted over $13 million to community organizations in Massachusetts. Learn more at www.rizema.org.