Ria Health Raises $18M to Virtually Treat Alcoholism

Poor access to treatment contributes to an average of 140,557 alcohol-related deaths per year.
Written by Charli Renken
June 30, 2022Updated: June 30, 2022
ria health ceo tom nix
Ria Health CEO Tom Nix | Photo: Ria Health/Twitter

According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, one in 10 Americans over the age of 12 have Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), commonly known as alcoholism.

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, reports show that 60 percent of Americans increased their alcohol consumption while in lockdown. 

Unfortunately, less than 10 percent of those diagnosed with receive treatment, contributing to an average of 140,557 alcohol related deaths per year, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

One reason people with AUD don’t get treatment is it isn’t accessible to them — something Ria Health, which just raised $18 million in Series A funding, hopes to change.

Founded in 2016, Ria Health is a telehealth provider for AUD treatment. Instead of the abstinence-only approach many traditional AUD recovery organizations focus on, Ria Health takes a harm reduction approach to treatment.

Health experts empower patients to set personal goals for clinically-measured reduction of alcohol misuse, as well as one-on-one coaching, medical support, digitally-connected breathalyzers and physician-prescribed medications to help reduce the effects AUD has on their lives. The telehealth program also helps treat co-morbid mental health issues like depression, anxiety, PTSD and other conditions commonly occurring alongside AUD.

“...For the past 40 years the one-size-fits-all approach to multi-addiction treatment has yielded poor results,” Ria Health CEO Tom Nix said in a statement. “Ria Health’s mission is to increase access to our clinically-effective, evidenced-based treatment that meets the preferences of people who have AUD and removes the barriers of stigma, cost and inconvenience.”

National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Hotline

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug and/or alcohol misuse, dial 1-800-662-HELP(4357) to reach the National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Hotline for immediate help. 

Ria Health’s approach appears to be working. According to the organization’s patient health outcome data, 70 percent of patients reduce their World Health Organization (WHO) risk drinking level in just 30 days and 80 percent reduce their number over 12 months.

These patients also report experiencing “clinically significant improvements” in their health, such as a lower risk for alcohol dependence, less severe alcohol-related consequences, reduced healthcare costs, improved mental health, improved quality of life, improved liver function and lower systolic blood pressure.

The company’s latest funding round, led by SV Health Investors, will allow Ria Health to expand care delivery to meet AUD treatment demands from health plans, multi-state employers, Taft-Hartley plans and healthcare providers. 

“As drinking rose dramatically during the pandemic, Ria Health’s talented founders and management team led the way with innovative treatment of alcohol use disorder by combining pharmacological and behavioral support,” SV Health Investors partner Michael Balmuth said in a statement. “Ria Health’s clinical approach and high-quality outcomes will continue to transform the substance use treatment industry.”

Balmuth also joined Ria Health’s board as part of the investment. 

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