In 2018, the Clinton Foundation began to engage faith leaders in responding to the opioid epidemic by implementing strategies to build community resilience and acting as conduits to recovery.
Faith leaders are an important source of support and can influence community-level attitudes and practices. As such, they are a vital part of the solution to confronting the opioid epidemic. The Clinton Foundation works to build networks of faith leaders representing different faith traditions, and equips them with the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to organize community members, reduce stigma of addiction, and to fight substance use disorders in their communities. In the program’s first year, the Clinton Foundation mobilized over fifty faith leaders in three cities: Houston, Texas; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Jacksonville, Florida, to address the opioid epidemic in their communities.
Faith leaders have received training on opioids and overdose prevention, became certified in Mental Health First Aid, learned how to speak about substance use disorders from the pulpit, and developed comprehensive guides on local prevention, treatment, and recovery resources for their communities. The Houston Resource Guide can be found here and the Little Rock Resource Guide can be found here. Faith networks in Houston and Little Rock participated in the Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, raising the community’s awareness about the risks of prescription drug misuse and collecting over 1,100 pounds of unused or expired medications.
The Clinton Foundation will continue growing and strengthening the number of faith networks engaged in fighting the opioid epidemic in communities across the country and will host the first-ever national conference on the role of faith leaders in responding to the opioid epidemic.