HCN News & Notes

HRH413 of Northampton Among RIZE Massachusetts Foundation Grant Recipients

BOSTON — RIZE Massachusetts Foundation (RIZE), an independent nonprofit foundation working to end the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts, announced it is awarding more than $1 million in grants to support harm-reduction services and research projects that will have long-term impact on the opioid crisis in Massachusetts.

“RIZE advances the work of local organizations at the front lines of this crisis and supports the research needed to identify meaningful and long-lasting solutions,” said Steve Pollock, president and CEO of DentaQuest and chair of the RIZE board of directors. 

RIZE awarded nearly $600,000 to six community-based organizations in the second year of funding for its Enabling Health: Improving Harm Reduction Services in Massachusetts grant program. 

The six grantees are the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod of Hyannis, Fenway Health of Boston, the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center of Lawrence, HRH413 of Northampton, the Kraft Center Mobile Health Initiative of Boston, and the Life Connection Center of Lowell.

Harm reduction is an approach that focuses on reducing the negative consequences of drug use and supporting individuals in embracing any positive change in their lives and health. The interventions can include a range of services such as overdose education, syringe services, and naloxone distribution.

The grantees were chosen because they have been providing evidence-based treatments to populations most adversely affected by the opioid crisis. They provide care through mobile-health units, one-on-one harm-reduction services, and outreach in under-resourced communities and to the hardest to reach, such as those experiencing homelessness.

Each month, the six programs collectively engage an average of 1,000 clients, distribute more than 60,000 clean syringes and collect more than 70,000, and distribute more than 2,000 naloxone kits. These programs have connected individuals to clinical care and treatment, expanded their programing to offer more on-site services such as HIV/AIDS screening, and engaged with new partners to enhance community services. 

“We can prevent death and improve care for people suffering from opioid-use disorder if we increase harm-reduction services and integrate them with access to clinical addiction-treatment programs,” said Julie Burns, president and CEO of RIZE Massachusetts Foundation. “The first year of this program has demonstrated that harm reduction and low-threshold addiction treatment can help individuals make informed decisions about treatment options and services.”