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about CENTER

An initiative since 2020, with the mission of the initiative is to reduce overdose, confront the impact of trauma, and invest

in the long-term wellbeing of Black people most impacted by addiction, drug use, and overdose in St. Louis.


The CENTER Initiative is a partnership between the University of Missouri, St. Louis - Missouri Institute of Mental Health (UMSL-MIMH),

Power4STL (The T), Family Care Health Centers, the St Louis Community Health Worker Coalition (CHWCo), the Regional Health Commission,

Integrated Health Network, and the Behavioral Health Network. This initiative is funded by The Missouri Foundation for Health. 

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and Renewal


CENTER People Who Use Drugs

Long-Term Goal: Creating Systems Change ​

  • A funding, policy, and accountability landscape that truly values and listens to Black people impacted by addiction and invests in local Black organizations and networks, ensuring they have the autonomy and capacity to respond to the needs of their communities.

 Current Priorities: 

  • Changing the Narrative: Amplifying the message within the entire community to help others understand the urgency of the current overdose crisis for Black people in St. Louis while appreciating and celebrating the many paths to recovery.

  • Promoting Safe Use: Ensuring safe use supplies are standard and equitably distributed in Black communities with champions trained to respond and promote individual and community wellbeing.

  • Increasing Service Options: Requiring black people are served equally by the existing continuum of substance use services and new innovative models are supported to expand healing care and social support.

Our Approaches:

  • Advocacy.     

  • Education.     

  • Intervention.     

  • Relationship-Building

  • Research


Drug Policy Alliance Roundtable

Research teams increasingly include community consultants and advisory boards in their research to ensure it is more responsive to communities, yet, little of this work has been applied to Black people who use drugs, who are being disproportionately impacted by the overdose crisis.

This presentation will discuss: 

1) designing and planning a community-engaged research project in collaboration with people with lived experience; 

2) building broad community partnerships; and 

3) developing and fostering a Community Advisory Board in a community that has been previously exploited by research and policy.


Material will be sourced from lessons learned of the Community Advisory Board (CAB) and the overall St. Louis’s CENTER Initiative.

DETAILS: Thursday, December 14, 2023 from 3:30 - 5:00 pm CST

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