Wheeler Receives $1.5-Million Grant to Address Opioid Crisis, Deliver Enhanced Medication-Assisted Treatment Services and Supports in New Britain

Sep 28, 2018

Wheeler has received a three-year, $1.5-million federal grant to expand and enhance access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and recovery supports for adults in New Britain with opioid use disorders.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the grant further supports Wheeler’s efforts to serve adults who live in New Britain, or are returning to the area following incarceration, by providing additional MAT services as well as care coordination, outreach, and peer recovery supports at Wheeler’s Family Health & Wellness Center at 75 North Mountain Road, New Britain.

“Wheeler is meeting a critical need in New Britain by expanding and enhancing services that support treatment and recovery in the midst of a historic opioid use crisis,” said Susan Walkama, LCSW, president and chief executive officer.  

In 2017, Connecticut experienced 1,038 accidental overdose deaths, a 191% increase over 2012 and the fifth year in a row overdose deaths have gone up.
 In 2017, nearly all of the reported accidental overdose deaths (95 percent) involved opioids.

Walkama said the program will include a number of service enhancements, including culturally appropriate community outreach and engagement through community health workers, nurse care management, and integrated substance abuse, mental health, and primary health care services.

A key component will be peer recovery supports for patients receiving services: Wheeler currently has a dedicated nurse MAT care manager and peer recovery specialist working closely together to provide supports to programs at its Hartford and Bristol community health center sites. This grant would extend these beneficial supports to individuals served in New Britain.

Additionally, this program includes strategies to address the social determinants of health; innovative interventions such as the use of the myStrength digital behavioral health application to engage and retain patients in treatment; tobacco cessation services; and coordination of care with Ryan White HIV/AIDS services.


Wheeler Family Health & Wellness Center, New Britain

Wheeler’s Family Health & Wellness Center at 75 North Mountain Road, New Britain, offers primary care, women’s health care, behavioral health services, dental coordination, treatment for addiction, including medication-assisted treatment for alcohol and opioid use, tobacco cessation, outpatient services and recovery supports.

Funding for the Wheeler Family Health & Wellness Center is provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Wheeler is a Health Center Program grantee under 42 U.S.C. 254b and a deemed Public Health Service employee under 42 U.S.C. 233(g)-(n).

About Wheeler
Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018, Wheeler provides comprehensive solutions that address complex health issues, providing individuals, families and communities with accessible, innovative care that encourages recovery, health and growth at all stages of life.  Our integrated approach to primary and behavioral health, education and recovery creates measurable results, positive outcomes and hopeful tomorrows for more than 30,000 individuals across Connecticut each year. Learn more: www.wheelerclinic.org