Soros group donates grants to provide drug treatment $375,000 awarded to aid addicts, their families


The search for ways to fight drug addiction has prompted four new grants totaling $375,000 from George Soros' Open Society Institute-Baltimore.

Just before the board's action this week, Soros, the billionaire philanthropist and financial speculator, visited Baltimore for the first time since bringing a branch of his worldwide philanthropy here last year. In 1997, he pledged $25 million over five years for drug and other programs here.

The local institute's board approved three grants to Baltimore Substance Abuse Systems Inc., 213 St. Paul Place, the main agency financing drug treatment programs here.

"We feel there is a real opportunity to work closely with BSAS to find innovative and imaginative ways to create a model system of drug treatment," said Diana Morris, director of OSI-Baltimore.

In recent years, Baltimore has been described as having the highest per-capita number of heroin addicts of any U.S. city.

The grants to BSAS were:

$240,000 over 18 months to "create and evaluate a less restrictive approach to treating stable methadone patients outside their usual clinic setting." The project is a joint effort of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, University of Maryland and Man Alive treatment program. Employed clients who have used methadone for a year will visit physicians and get supplies of methadone on a monthly basis.

$80,000 over 18 months to support the relationship between Penn North, an alternative medicine clinic on Pennsylvania Avenue south of North Avenue and two transitional housing initiatives for its clients. The clinic uses acupuncture, exercise, herbs and other methods of treatment for drug-dependent patients.

$25,000 over one year to produce a brochure and report explaining effectiveness of drug treatment to educate businesses, foundations and civic leaders.

The fourth drug grant given this week was $30,000 over four months to Historic East Baltimore Action Coalition to integrate social and employment services with treatment for drug-addicted persons and their families.

Two other awards were approved:

$190,000 over two years to the Community Law Center Inc. to strengthen its management and coordinate community conferencing for juvenile offenders.

$125,000 over one year to Citizens Planning and Housing Association to improve area transportation by educating citizens and by increasing public involvement.

Pub Date: 12/19/98

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