HRiA expands substance use disorder work

HRiA was awarded a contract with the State of Illinois to run their Opioid Assistance and Recovery Services (OARS) Hotline – the first of its kind in the state. Like the rest of the country, Illinois has experienced an upward trend in opioid-related emergency department visits, hospital admissions, and overdose deaths, while administration of naloxone (Narcan) and opioid treatment admission has also increased. HRiA is partnering with Nebulogic to help to develop the Hotline data structure and the Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago to support outreach efforts. HRiA will model the OARS Hotline on the Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline, which guides those in need to treatment and recovery services through a call center (800.327.5050) and website ( Now with a new website and enhanced services, HRiA has operated the Helpline for the MA Department of Public Health/Bureau of Substance Addiction Services (MDPH/BSAS) for nearly 20 years.

With partners including the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, the GE Foundation, The Herren Project, and Epicenter Experience, HRiA is getting ready to launch Project Here, which will deliver substance use prevention resources to every public middle school in the state. Over the course of this project, Project Here will provide all public middle schools with a comprehensive educational toolkit, an interactive mobile app for young people to access information, and student support through the Herren Project. Additionally, a multi-week, comprehensive curriculum will be made available to schools through a grant application process.

And HRiA will soon be launching a statewide training series in Massachusetts to support social service providers in preventing and reversing opioid overdose, funded by the MDPH/BSAS. A needs assessment currently being conducted will inform the curriculum and delivery of trainings among an audience often at the forefront of the opioid crisis.

Staff members Jeremy Holman, Jennifer Toth, Laurie Jo Wallace, and Andrea El-Turkmani are leading these projects.