CVS Health Awards $750K in New Funding to California Harm Reduction Coalition

December 19, 2019

The grant will support a three-year, statewide effort designed to expand, develop, and deepen harm reduction services throughout the state.

CVS Health reports it will provide $750,000 over the next three years to the national Harm Reduction Coalition to improve the health and wellness of California residents impacted by prescription opioid misuse and abuse.

Harm Reduction Coalition (HRC), is a national capacity-building and advocacy organization that promotes the health and dignity of individuals and communities affected by drug abuse and drug-related policies, and provides a critical voice for those in the most vulnerable communities.

"We can help improve the health outcomes of our communities by strengthening our local support and empowering local organizations that are developing innovative solutions," says Kristen Miranda, California market president for Aetna, a CVS Health company. "We know that so many communities across the country––including in California––have been impacted by widespread prescription opioid misuse and abuse. Our work with the HRC will support their efforts to address several elements of this significant public health issue in California and help local residents on their path to better health."

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The funding will support HRC's Community Engagement Network to Expand Resources (CENTER) Initiative––a three-year, statewide effort designed to expand, develop, and deepen harm reduction services throughout California. CENTER will be focused on convening diverse stakeholders to address drug-related stigmas, supporting syringe services programs with training and technical assistance, hosting state and national conferences, and developing culturally relevant resources.

"We have over 25 years of experience preventing overdose and drug-related harms through resources and education that are rooted in evidence and compassion," says Taeko Frost, DrPH, Senior Director of Innovation and Strategy for Harm Reduction Coalition. "We know that harm reduction programs have been operating on shoestring budgets for years, only reaching the people most at risk of overdose. The CENTER Initiative will allow us to strengthen those programs through training and capacity-building, to build partnerships with other local programs, including healthcare providers and drug treatment access points, and to create a comprehensive statewide network for providers who can meaningfully engage with at-risk community members."

The grant is part of CVS Health's Building Healthier Communities initiative, through which CVS Health and its charitable foundations will support a range of initiatives and non-profit organizations across three categories: improving local access to affordable quality care; impacting public health challenges; and partnering with local communities.