Philadelphia, PA — December 1, 2020 — The Independence Blue Cross Foundation (Foundation) announced that it will award new funding to Caron Treatment Centers (Caron) for scholarships aimed to help Black families access world-class substance use disorder treatment at Caron. These grants are one of several enhancements and funding from the Foundation’s Supporting Treatment and Overdose Prevention (S.T.O.P.) initiative to help people struggling with opioid use disorder in southeastern Pennsylvania. Additional S.T.O.P. initiatives will be announced in 2021. The announcement was made by Lorina Marshall-Blake, president of the Foundation, at Caron’s annual Richard J. Caron Award Gala, held virtually this year.
According to the American Psychological Association, despite relatively uniform rates of substance use disorder, members of racial and ethnic minority groups are most likely to experience barriers that impede their ability to access substance use disorder treatment.
Caron’s scholarships for Black families include full substance use disorder residential treatment and family education services. Caron has committed $500,000 of its annual scholarship fund to help Black families access care. At this time, five patients and their families have already benefited from the scholarship.
While most of the program costs are covered by Caron, grant funding awarded by the Foundation for scholarships cover the patient portion that many patients in low-income situations simply can’t afford. One Day at a Time Recovery, Inc. (ODAAT), which provides services for low-income and homeless individuals afflicted by addiction and HIV/AIDS, will help identify individuals for the scholarships.
“The opioid epidemic rages on and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more difficult for many of our most vulnerable populations to get the help they need,” said Marshall-Blake. “We created S.T.O.P. to fight the opioid crisis on many different fronts; addressing the stigma associated with addiction, expanding community access to treatment and funding research on warm hand-offs in hospitals, for example. We’re looking forward to expanding our support with Caron even further through these new scholarships.”
“The sad truth is that quality treatment is often financially inaccessible for many families, especially those in our Black communities,” said Doug Tieman, Caron’s president and CEO. “We’re committed to eliminating the financial barriers that prevent people from seeking treatment. The support from the Independence Blue Cross Foundation helps us offer more people access to the care they so desperately need and to begin their journey to a healthier future.”
“We’re excited to work with the IBC Foundation and Caron to offer additional support for those who are suffering in our community,” said Mel Wells, president and CEO of ODAAT. “Caron offers the gold standard in addiction services. The value of these scholarships is immeasurable.”
In 2019, the Foundation awarded grant funding for Caron to help expand its student assistance program, family education, and Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment, or SBIRT, training. The funding also supported the launch of a new training program for nursing students and nursing professionals.
As a result of the funding, more than 3,500 youth, 165 parents, and 450 child-serving professionals received vital education related to the prevention and early intervention of substance use among teens.
About the Independence Blue Cross Foundation:
The Independence Blue Cross Foundation (Foundation) is a private, corporate charitable foundation that was established in 2011 with a mission to lead sustainable solutions that improve the health and well-being of the community. The Foundation has awarded nearly $45M in grants to nonprofits and academic institutions in the southeastern Pennsylvania region whose programs and services address access to care, the health care workforce, and nonprofit sustainability.
Independence Blue Cross