The Open Society Institute-Baltimore’s Addiction and Health Equity Program seeks to generate and promote innovative ideas that improve health equity and lower the threshold to high-quality behavioral health services, reduce stigma, and support community engagement to improve public health in Baltimore.
The program includes the following priorities:
Use the opportunity of health care reforms, including the Affordable Care Act, to reach universal access to a comprehensive, high-quality public addiction treatment system.
The greatest opportunity, and challenge, to the field has been the passage of national health care reform. Although Maryland identified essential health benefits that include substance use treatment, we still have much work to do to ensure that these benefits are actually available to those in need. Health care reform implementation has changed the way health care is provided in this country in substantial ways and created some new challenges for behavioral health providers. To make the most of this changing landscape, providers, hospitals, government officials, and health care advocates have to continue to be nimble and forward-thinking. OSI-Baltimore initiatives support education, advocacy, and demonstration projects to increase meaningful access to substances use disorder services.
Support harm reduction policies and initiatives to reduce the stigma associated with addiction and decrease the negative impact of substance use.
One of the most debilitating negative aspects associated with substance use is the criminalization of addiction. OSI-Baltimore supports programs, such as Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD), that work to divert individuals struggling with addiction from the criminal justice system into the public health and social services systems. This work is important to decreasing the stigma associated with substance use and creating a more open environment for individuals who wish to seek treatment. Clearly, one of the most immediate and concerning risks associated with opioid use is the increasing numbers of fatal overdoses. OSI-Baltimore will continue to serve as a local leader in the efforts to identify simple but effective policies that reduce overdose risk.
Strengthen and help sustain a strong, diverse addiction treatment advocacy community, inclusive of those most affected by substances use disorder services policies.
The initiative supports the establishment of a diverse advocacy community that includes directly impacted individuals who have first-hand knowledge of how policies that discriminate against people with substance use disorders lead to the breakdown of families and disintegration of our communities.
Learn more about our Grantmaking proces here