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Bridging Faith and Science to Combat the Overdose Crisis Series - May 4, 2021

First in a Series | May 4, 2021

The CDC estimates that nearly 841,000 Americans have died from drug overdoses since 1999, making the modern addiction and overdose epidemic the worst in our nation’s history.

The COVID-19 pandemic has added new urgency to the search for solutions, with many communities facing higher rates of injuries and deaths from drugs than ever before, and an estimated 88,000 lives lost to overdoses during the 12 months ending in August 2020.

Faith leaders provide critical support for individuals, families, and communities impacted by substance use disorders, and they are ideally positioned to raise awareness and prompt action on the part of those most affected. Scientific advances have shed light on effective strategies for prevention and treatment, but don’t always reach impacted individuals and communities.

President Bill Clinton convened leaders from across the faith and public health communities to take action on the overdose crisis in 2021 and beyond. Through a partnership with the Clinton Foundation, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Centre for Responsible Leadership, national leaders from science and faith discussed the promise of a collaborative relationship, to reduce stigma about addiction, educate about prevention, treatment, and long-term recovery, and advance policies and programs that save lives and help people move to recovery.


Bill Clinton profile

President Bill Clinton
Founder and Board Chair, Clinton Foundation 
42nd President of the United States



Mohammad Abdulkarim al issa profile

H.E. Dr. Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa
Chairman of The Centre for Responsible Leadership




Sanjay Gupta Profile

Dr. Sanjay Gupta  
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent 




Ellen MacKenzie profile

Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD ’79, ScM ’75
Bloomberg Distinguished Professor
Bloomberg School of Public Health



Bishop Vashti McKenzie

Bishop Vashti McKenzie 
African Methodist Episcopal Church  




David Satcher profile

Dr. David Satcher
16th Surgeon General of the United States 
Founder and Senior Adviser, Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine