AG Grants $1.2M to 12 Mass. Nonprofits for Opioid Treatment

February 12, 2021 — Attorney General Maura Healey this week announced that her office granted $1,209,923 to 12 nonprofit organizations across Massachusetts to promote equity in treatment programs and recovery services for opioid use disorder.

The awards, from the Promoting Cultural Humility in Opioid Use Disorder Treatment grant program, were funded by a recent settlement that the AG’s office reached with Injured Workers Pharmacy for unlawful and dangerous prescription drug dispensing practices.

“The opioid epidemic is far from over, and the COVID-19 crisis has only exacerbated barriers to care that have systemically and disproportionately harmed communities of color for far too long,” said Healey. “We have prioritized equity in our grant programs and awarded these funds to organizations that are committed to providing accessible recovery and treatment services to diverse patients across our state.”

According to the AG’s office, systemic issues, including health care provider biases, limited public health research, and inadequate news coverage have mischaracterized the opioid epidemic as chiefly impacting white suburban and rural communities, noting that “communities of color are increasingly affected by opioid use disorder.”

Data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health indicate that opioid-related overdose deaths increased for Hispanic and Black non-Hispanic communities between 2018 and 2019.

Grants were awarded to the following organizations:

  • Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, Greater Boston: $100,000 to provide recovery support and harm reduction services to Black and Latinx populations experiencing homelessness in Greater Boston.

  • Boston Medical Center, Greater Boston: $80,647 to incorporate trauma-informed services, Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services, CLAS) standards, and culturally sensitive practices in treatment for mothers with opioid use disorder (OUD) and support to infants born with neonatal withdrawal syndrome.

  • Charles River Community Health Center, Allston-Brighton, Waltham, Framingham/MetroWest: $99, 453 to increase access to BIPOC patients with a history of OUD.

  • Gándara Mental Health Center, Springfield, Holyoke: $99,306 to increase services to Latinx and Black populations and incorporate cultural humility into Massachusetts Certified Recovery Coach trainings.

  • Home Base Program, statewide: $99,878 to help develop and implement training programs for veteran outreach coordinators to better assist BIPOC, black, Indigenous and people of color) veterans.

  • Jewish Family & Children’s Service, Essex, Middlesex, and Suffolk Counties: $100,000 to increase its capacity to serve Latinx parents with OUD who have children under five years old through its Center for Early Relationship Support.

  • Lynn Community Health Center: $100,000 to increase bilingual staff capacity and hire staff members more reflective of impacted communities for the “Lynn Moving Upstream Project.”

  • Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston: $99,969 for peer support for women of color with OUD who are also impacted by commercial sex exploitation and are more likely to require services beyond the average treatment time.

  • Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery, statewide: $100,000 to increase access of BIPOC communities to recovery coaching with a focus on services for pregnant or parenting women, veterans, and recently incarcerated individuals who are actively engaged in treatment.

  • Opening the Word Peer Recovery Center, Webster, Dudley, Oxford, Douglas and Southbridge: $94,912 to hire group recovery facilitators, Spanish-speaking staff members, and recovery coaches from the communities the center serves.

  • River to Recovery, Fall River and surrounding communities: $44,222 for outreach to Black and Latinx populations in Fall River while recruiting and training a new recovery coach from the communities served.

  • Steppingstone Incorporated, New Bedford and surrounding communities: $82,536 to increase Spanish-speaking staff and provide cultural humility training for staff.

  • Victory Programs, Suffolk, Essex, and Norfolk Counties: $100,000 for recruitment/retention initiatives for bilingual staff, evidence-based trainings in cultural humility and racial equity, and programmatic evaluation based on community and client input.

The AG’s office also awarded similar levels of funding to the City of Somerville, the Franklin County Sheriff's Department/Opioid Task Force of Franklin County and the North Quabbin Region, and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.