Governor Terry McAuliffe has announced that the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has awarded federal AmeriCorps funding to the City of Richmond Human Services Commission to combat the opioid epidemic and its devastating effects on families, communities, workplaces, health care, and the state. The City of Richmond, through the Richmond AmeriCorps Healthy Futures Project, will utilize a coalition to provide education, prevention, reduction and recovery services. The grant, totaling $254,397 includes $138,186 in federal grants and $116,211 was matched by the coalition partners.
“The opioid epidemic continues to take a toll on communities throughout the Commonwealth,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Too many Virginia families have felt the heartbreak and loss caused by opioid abuse. These grant funds from the Corporation for National and Community Service will play a vital role in our work to establish strategic, proactive efforts to address this issue within Richmond and throughout Virginia.”
“The City of Richmond is pleased to engage in this opportunity to meet the rapidly growing need to address healthy futures,” said Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. “It furthers our unified goal of educating and strengthening our communities while reducing and preventing prescription drug and opioid abuse.”
Coalition partners include CARITAS, the McShin Foundation, the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority’s Friends of Prevention Coalition, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rams in Recovery program, and the Virginia Recovery Foundation. AmeriCorps members will provide substance abuse case management, peer recovery support, and addiction prevention activities to 1,725 Virginians in the Richmond region. The on-the-ground interventions will encompass outreach and the trained experience and support of peer recovery mentors and coaches.
In November 2016, State Health Commissioner Marissa J. Levine, MD, MPH, FAAFP, declared the Virginia opioid addiction crisis a public health emergency. Last year, 1,133 of the 1,460 drug overdose deaths in Virginia were related to opioids or heroin. Drug overdoses now kill more people than motor vehicle accidents and gun deaths in the Commonwealth.
Currently increasing its focus on drug abuse prevention, reduction, and recovery, CNCS, in partnership with Virginia, strives to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic participation through service and volunteering. Nationally, CNCS engages 324,000 Senior Corps and AmeriCorps members in results-driven service annually at 50,000 locations across the country. For information on AmeriCorps in Virginia, visit http://virginiaservice.virginia.gov/americorps-national-service/virginia-national-service-programs/virginia-americorps-state-programs-2/.
For more information on the opioid epidemic and resources in Virginia, visit vaaware.com.