RIZE Blog

Rapid Response Grantee – PAARI

PAARI Exemplifies Partnership Between Government, Nonprofits and Corporations During Covid-19 Pandemic

Small nonprofits can have a big impact when they partner with other organizations. One RIZE rapid response grant recipient, the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI), rallied with several organizations to make a difference during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As judges and attorneys across the country and here in Massachusetts grapple with the release of select prisoners to protect them from Covid-19, PAARI sought to minimize risk factors for people released from House of Correction facilities in eastern Massachusetts.

Because of the documented increase of overdose risk among those recently released from incarceration, coupled with the increased chances of health conditions and social distancing restrictions, released inmates with opioid use disorder (OUD) are vulnerable to Covid-19 complications.

PAARI partnered with several organizations representing different sectors to launch a survival kit program to reduce the risk of overdose.  Survival kits will be distributed by the Essex, Middlesex and Suffolk County sheriffs, with more on the way.

Kits include:

  • Narcan;
  • Localized OUD resources;
  • Information to connect with Boston Medical Center’s Office Based Addiction Treatment Program telemedicine and prescribing hotline and local pharmacy partners;
  • Covid-19 safety information; and
  • Fentanyl safety information and, in some cases, fentanyl test strips.

These kits have been created with the help of a RIZE rapid response grant, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston Medical Center, Healthy Streets, AHOPE of Boston Public Health Commission, and law enforcement partners.  RIZE worked with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts to print over 4,000 pieces of literature for the safety kits.

“Partnership, collaboration, and idea sharing go a long way in times of crisis,” said Julie Burns, President and CEO, RIZE Massachusetts Foundation.  “The team at PAARI saw a need that was critical to the missions of both PAARI and RIZE and quickly worked with several stakeholders to make a positive impact on a population often forgotten.”

On March 23, RIZE Massachusetts Foundation announced that it had distributed nearly $200,000 in rapid response grants to support nonprofit organizations strained by the Covid-19 pandemic.  All 25 RIZE rapid response grant recipients are using funds to support operational needs that may include significant changes to address the health and well-being of patients and clients during the Covid-19 pandemic.  To see the full list of recipients, read the grant announcement here.

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