Philanthropy's Responsibility in Combating Addiction
The country’s opiate epidemic grips national headlines.
In 2016, more Americans died of an opiate overdose than from gun violence or traffic fatalities. More communities have grieved the loss of a loved one due to overdose last year than in any year at the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. However, opiate overdose rates are only the tip of the iceberg. More Americans die annually from the overconsumption of alcohol than all illicit drugs combined; many of those deaths are people are under 18. The economic toll is staggering: more than $740 billion annually in costs related to crime, lost work productivity and health care.
Philanthropy cannot solve this problem alone. But philanthropic organizations can help drive a national movement to address this epidemic. And it is essential that we do so.
Tym Rourke, director of substance use disorders grantmaking at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and Alexa Eggleston, senior program officer at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation co-authored a recent blog for Grantmakers in Health.
Time to Step Up
A Call for a National Philanthropic Agenda to Combat Addiction