AIDS support group receives thousands to fight opioid crisis

HYANNIS — The AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod has received about $5,000 in grants from RIZE Massachusetts to help fight the opioid epidemic.

The RIZE Massachusetts Foundation aims to end the statewide overdose crisis.

RIZE Massachusetts President and CEO Julie Burns said she works to distribute grants, commission research, and develop actions and advocacy.

The AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod was one of the recipients of about $75,000 in total during this round of funding, which Burns said was launched to invest in harm reduction.

“If you think about it this way: the people who deliver harm reduction interventions are closest to the problem,” Burns explained, “and often the people closest to the problem are closest to the solution.”

Burns said the AIDS support group will use the money for syringes, tubing and fentanyl test strips to use during their outreach.

The work on AIDS and the work on the opioid epidemic are linked; Burns said the Cape Cod AIDS Support Group has experience working with intravenous drug use and can identify people in need of medical attention and refer them to appropriate care.

Burns explained that amid the coronavirus pandemic, grants like these are even more vital. She said substance use had become more prevalent as people became isolated, treatment was harder to access and anxiety increased.

“We are doing all we can to support the wonderful non-profit organizations and clinical providers across the Commonwealth who have not missed a beat during COVID while reaching and caring for this very, very vulnerable population” , Burns added.

More details about the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod can be found by click here, while additional information about RIZE Massachusetts can be found by click here.

Virginia S. Braud