SACRAMENTO – As part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s $1 billion Master Plan for tackling the fentanyl and opioid crisis, California today awarded $5.7 million for opioid and stimulant use education and outreach in Two-Spirit/LGBTQ+ communities.
“California has an all-hands-on-deck strategy for tackling the fentanyl and opioid crisis impacting every community across our state and country,” said Governor Newsom. “Education and outreach are critical tools in our arsenal – to prevent tragedy, to connect people with treatment, and to fight the life-threatening stigma that stops too many people from getting help. The best way forward is together – leaving no one alone in this battle.”
GRANT IMPACT: The grants will be used to increase awareness and education, for and within 2S/LGBTQ+ communities, about opioids and stimulants, decrease stigma related to drug use and treatment, and integrate and strengthen treatment referral pathways for opioid use disorder and stimulant use disorder.
“Awardees will support 2S/LGBTQ+ organizations’ outreach and education activities for opioid use and stimulant use disorders, while creating tangible links to services and treatment providers within their communities,” said DHCS Director Michelle Baass. “These organizations are focused on the 2S/LGBTQ+ community, striving for health equity through culturally and linguistically appropriate prevention and education projects.”
AWARD DETAILS: This funding opportunity awards $5.7 million to 25 entities, with a maximum of up to $250,000 per awarded entity for the 12-month contract period from July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2024.
WHY THIS MATTERS: More than 1.8 million individuals in California identify as part of the 2S/LGBTQ+ population. “2S” refers to “Two-Spirit,” which is a Native American concept referring to sexual and gender diversity. Compared to heterosexual individuals nationwide, lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adults report higher rates of stimulant use and substance use disorders (SUD). In 2019, 1.4 million LGB adults, nationally, reported illicit opioid (prescription pain reliever, fentanyl, heroin, etc.) use. Some factors contributing to opioid use and stimulant use in the 2S/LGBTQ+ community include mental illness, the risk of experiencing violence, structural stigma, and discrimination.
BROADER EFFORT: The project is part of DHCS’ broader efforts to address SUD as part of the California MAT Expansion Project, a holistic effort to increase access to Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), reduce unmet treatment needs, and reduce opioid overdose-related deaths through the provision of prevention, treatment, and recovery activities. MAT is the use of medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, which is effective in the treatment of opioid use disorders and can help some people sustain recovery. For more information, please visit the DHCS website.
BIGGER PICTURE: Governor Newsom has dedicated more than $1 billion in funding to fight the opioid crisis by removing opioids from the streets, providing resources to California communities in need, and increasing education and awareness to prevent harm. In fiscal year 2022-23, DHCS is investing more than $558 million in various opioid prevention and treatment grant activities. Earlier this year, Governor Newsom announced the state would begin the process for creating its own Naloxone – through the CalRx Initiative – to make the lifesaving drug more accessible and more affordable across California.