National Council Awards Grants to 16 Harm Reduction Organizations


March 17, 2021

Sophia Majlessi
(202) 621-1631

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Funding, Administered by the National Council, Will Help Communities Address Rising Overdose Deaths

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Council for Mental Wellbeing today announced it will administer $500,000 in grants, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to harm reduction organizations across the country.

The National Council has awarded grants to 16 organizations, which will use this much-needed funding to support implementation of innovative harm reduction strategies – a wide range of approaches including syringe service programs (SSPs), distribution of naloxone to reverse overdoses and drug checking equipment to ensure drugs aren’t laced with fentanyl – to better serve the needs of people who use drugs and people with substance use disorders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Harm reduction has helped people who use drugs survive and stay healthy for decades, and those strategies are helping people during the nation’s devastating overdose epidemic,” National Council President and CEO Chuck Ingoglia said. “But many harm reduction organizations are struggling to stay open during the pandemic, and many have closed. These grants will keep their doors open, keep people alive and keep them well.”

The grants present an opportunity for harm reduction advocates to help communities slow overdose deaths. Provisional data from the CDC show 83,544 people died from an overdose in the 12-month period ending July 2020. That number – represents a 22.8 percent increase in overdose deaths compared to the previous year.

“The need for harm reduction strategies has never been greater. The pandemic exacerbated the overdose crisis, and we have an important opportunity to support the harm reduction organizations who provide people who use drugs with the life-saving resources they need but may no longer be available because of the pandemic, quarantines and isolation,” Ingoglia said.

The following harm reduction organizations received a grant:

  • Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium/Healthy Alaska Natives Foundation, Anchorage, AK
  • Bronx Móvil, Bronx, NY
  • Dave Purchase Project/Tacoma Needle Exchange, Tacoma, WA
  • HIPS, Washington, DC
  • Iowa Harm Reduction Coalition, Cedar Rapids, IA
  • Maine Access Points, Richmond, ME
  • Milan Puskar Health Right, Morgantown, WV
  • NEXT Harm Reduction/NEXT Distro, New York, NY
  • North Carolina Survivors Union, Greensboro, NC
  • Oklahoma Harm Reduction Alliance, Tulsa, OK
  • Sex Workers and Allies Network of New Haven, New Haven, CT
  • Sonoran Prevention Works, Phoenix, AZ
  • Southside Harm Reduction Services, Minneapolis, MN
  • SWOP Behind Bars, Apopka, FL
  • The Perfectly Flawed Foundation, LaSalle, IL
  • Trystereo/New Orleans Harm Reduction Network, New Orleans, LA

Read more about each program here.

This project is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $750,000 with 100% funded by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC/HHS or the U.S. Government.


About the National Council for Mental Wellbeing

The National Council for Mental Wellbeing is the unifying voice of America’s health care organizations that deliver mental health and addictions treatment and services. Together with our 3,326 member organizations serving over 10 million adults, children and families living with mental illnesses and addictions, the National Council is committed to all Americans having access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery. The National Council introduced Mental Health First Aid USA and 2.5 million Americans have been trained.

About The National Council

Founded in 1969, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing is a membership organization that drives policy and social change on behalf of over 3,300 mental health and substance use treatment organizations and the more than 10 million children, adults and families they serve. We advocate for policies to ensure equitable access to high-quality services. We build the capacity of mental health and substance use treatment organizations. And we promote greater understanding of mental wellbeing as a core component of comprehensive health and health care. Through our Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program, we have trained more than 3 million people in the U.S. to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges.