Philadelphia, PA — The Independence Blue Cross Foundation (Foundation), through its Supporting Treatment and Overdose Prevention (STOP) initiative, awarded $200,000 to five nonprofits to improve access to effective prevention and treatment for people struggling with opioid abuse in southeastern Pennsylvania. In 2016, there were more than 1,600 overdose deaths in southeastern Pennsylvania. Since 2009, Philadelphia has seen a 43 percent increase in drug-related overdose deaths and the numbers are expected to climb higher in 2017, according to public health officials. The organizations receiving the Foundation support are:
- Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region to create a substance abuse prevention education program for staff and mentors.
- David’s New Day to help people who are transitioning out of treatment to a safe place where they can continue their recovery.
- Pathways To Housing PA to enhance community based-based services for people with substance use disorders.
- The Moyer Foundation to replicate in North Philadelphia the community-based Camp Mariposa prevention model which helps youth who are experiencing addiction in their families.
- The Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia to support a new Opioid Prevention and Treatment Project that will address opioid misuse, abuse, and addiction in North Philadelphia.
Since launching STOP in August 2016, the Foundation has provided more than $600,000 in funding to advance research for hospital-based overdose survivor “warm handoff” programs, and raise public awareness for safe medication disposal, opioid abuse prevention, and treatment programs. In addition, in 2017, the Foundation convened PA Governor Tom Wolf and District Attorney Josh Shapiro to discuss the administration’s efforts to respond to the opioid epidemic as a public health crisis.
The Foundation also recently announced new support for a project and multi-media public awareness campaign with the Justice Center for Research at Penn State University to share stories of addiction and recovery to remove the stigma of addiction as a barrier so people and families seek treatment.