OAKLAND, Calif. — As part of its commitment to building healthier communities, CVS Health announced Thursday it will be providing $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, or 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. The new funding from CVS Health will help support HRC as they tackle critical health issues faced by the California community related to prescription opioid misuse and abuse.
“We can help improve the health outcomes of our communities by strengthening our local support and empowering local organizations that are developing innovative solutions,” said 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.”
The funding will support HRC’s Community Engagement Network to Expand Resources (CENTER) Initiative – a three-year, state-wide 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 as a means to be better equipped to respond to the needs of people who misuse and abuse prescription drugs, their families, and impacted communities in California.
The CVS Health grant will be highlighted at a Harm Reduction Coalition training event and discussion taking place December 11 and 12 at the University of California, Fresno Center. The event is open to community members and service providers in the Central Valley that are focused on evidence-based strategies to address issues related to prescription opioid misuse and abuse.
“We have over 25 years of experience preventing overdose and drug-related harms through resources and education that are rooted in evidence and compassion,” said Dr. Taeko Frost, 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 health care 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, which is a commitment to making community health and wellness central to the newly combined company’s charge for a better world. Through Building Healthier Communities, 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.
One of the primary public health issues the company is addressing is the impact of the misuse and abuse of prescription opioids in communities around the country. CVS Health and Aetna’s expansive reach, expertise and access to local communities position us to help fight prescription opioid abuse for the people we serve. Our comprehensive strategy focused on prevention, intervention and support, builds on years of innovative programs and allows us to identify new opportunities for impact. The company has made an enterprise-wide commitment to help address the inappropriate use of prescription opioids by designing programs that increase access to safe medication disposal, encourage appropriate utilization, educate patients at the pharmacy and teens and parents in communities, expand access to life-saving antidotes, work with providers to ensure they are following evidence-based opioid prescribing guidelines, and support local recovery programs.
This grant is part of CVS Health’s commitment to investing in California’s health care delivery system, reflected in the November 2018 agreement between CVS Health and California’s Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC).