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December 02, 2020

Caron Treatment Centers receives grant funding to help Black families pay for substance use disorder treatment

Independence Blue Cross Foundation funding scholarships

Addiction Substance Abuse
060920_IBX_CHOP_agreement.original.png Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The Independence Blue Cross Foundation is providing funding to help Black families better access treatment for substance use disorders.

The Independence Blue Cross Foundation has awarded $500,000 to Caron Treatment Centers to help Black families better access substance use disorder treatment. 

The funding will create scholarships that cover residential treatment and family education services. 

Rates of substance use disorder are relatively consistent across most racial and ethnic demographics. Around 7.7% of white people and 6.8% of Black people experienced substance abuse in 2017, according to the American Addiction Center.

Yet, members of racial and ethnic minority groups are most likely to have trouble accessing treatment for these disorders, according to the American Psychological Association. 

The funding is one of many efforts coming out of the IBX Foundation's Supporting Treatment and Overdose Prevention initiative, which helps people with opioid use disorder in Southeastern Pennsylvania. 

"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," IBX Foundation President Lorina Marshall-Blake said in a news release. 

"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 handoffs in hospitals, for example. We're looking forward to expanding our support with Caron even further through these new scholarships."

Though most program costs are covered by Caron, the new funding is aimed at covering patient costs that many low-income families and homeless people cannot afford. Five patients and their families already have utilized the scholarships.

Scholarship recipients will be identified with the help of One Day at a Time Recovery, Inc. a group that provides resources to low-income and homeless people experiencing addiction and HIV/AIDS.

"The sad truth is that quality treatment is often financially inaccessible for many families, especially those in our Black communities," Caron CEO Doug Tieman said. "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 deeply need and to begin their journey to a healthier future."

The IBX Foundation previously provided funding to help expand Caron's student assistance program, family education and Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment training. More than 3,500 youth, 165 parents and 450 child-serving professionals received prevention education.

The Foundation said it will announce more initiatives to support S.T.O.P. in the new year. 

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