When it comes to getting treatment for substance abuse, the LGBT community is often left behind.
A new scholarship fund created in partnership with Caron Treatment Centers and the Release Recovery Foundation aims to bridge that gap and provide better access to help for a group statistically more likely to need it and less likely to find it.
With an initial commitment of $200,000 from the foundation, the scholarship to Caron aims to improve access to treatment for members of the LGBT community. Officials from the Release Recovery Foundation said the addiction treatment center will continue to grow the fund through contributions from individuals and additional organizations.
Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health suggests that substance abuse patterns reported by LGBT adults are higher compared to those reported by their heterosexual counterparts. Additionally, the survey found LGBT individuals tend to enter treatment with more severe psychiatric disorders.
“The combined crisis around mental health, substance use disorder and COVID-19 has made it even more challenging for vulnerable populations to get the help they need,” said Brad Sorte, president and CEO of Caron Treatment Centers.
Sorte said the creation of this scholarship fund will support Caron’s ongoing commitment to removing barriers and expanding access to treatment services for members of the LGBT community. He added that the organization prides itself on offering a safe and sensitive environment with understanding LGBT staff and allies offering support.
The treatment scholarship has been named after Nic Pagano, an alumus of Caron and Release Recovery who passed away in July from an accidental opioid overdose.
Zac Clark, a Caron board member who helped create the Release Recovery Foundation, said Pagano was a proud member of the LGBT community and had recently announced his interest in becoming a voice for the fairness and rights of the transgender community.
At his sober living home, Clark said Pagano welcomed new clients arriving from treatment centers and helped make them feel comfortable in their new living environment. Pagano, who had found some success on the stage and in the film industry, had expressed interest in pursuing a career in therapeutic healing.
“We started the Release Recovery Foundation to help individuals who just didn’t have the same access to treatment that I had growing up,” Clark said. “We identified the LGBTQIA+ community as one where we could make a difference. Nic’s memory and desire to be a voice for this community will live on, helping many others access recovery.”
To learn more about the Nic Pagano Scholarship Fund, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Berkshire mont