February 11, 2022 

CONTACT: Kathy Melley, (617-791-0708 

(BOSTON, MA) – Community Catalyst today issued the following statement in response to false statements and racist tropes made by a handful of policymakers and propagated by media outlets regarding the use of federal grants for harm reduction services for people who use drugs and alcohol. The $30 million in funding, approved by Congress last year under the American Rescue Plan Act, aims to save lives and improve health, with a focus on underserved communities disproportionately affected by substance use disorders.   

Statement of Emily Stewart in response to inaccurate and racist claims about the intended use of the American Rescue Plan Act’s $30 million investments in harm reductions services: 

“Community Catalyst advocated for and continues to support the $30 million investment in public health that Congress approved to boost harm reduction efforts across the nation. These funds, targeted for underserved communities, are designed to support community services including overdose prevention and syringe services that reduce the harm caused by drug use and misuse. They are also designed to help connect people to a continuum of health services for substance use disorders and other illnesses. This is an investment in communities most affected by substance use disorders, including drug overdoses, and those harmed by the failed War on Drugs, including communities of color. We strongly condemn recent attacks on this funding and the racist tropes about drug use they have revived.  

“Public health, racial equity and health justice must drive decisions about health spending. It’s also essential that the nation prioritize public health approaches over punitive and enforcement strategies when it comes to substance use disorders.”   


About Community Catalyst: Community Catalyst is a leading non-profit national health advocacy organization dedicated to advancing a movement for health equity and justice. We partner with local, state and national advocates to leverage and build power so all people can influence decisions that affect their health. Health systems will not be accountable to people without a fully engaged and organized community voice. That’s why we work every day to ensure people’s interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and health care are made: in communities, state houses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter @CommCatHealth.