Washington, D.C. – Today, White House Office of Public Engagement Director Stephen Benjamin, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Dr. Rahul Gupta, and White House Office of the Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Executive Director Melissa Rogers convened faith leaders from across the country to discuss efforts to deliver on President Biden’s Unity Agenda call to action to beat the overdose epidemic and save lives.
The faith leaders shared steps they are deliberately taking to prevent overdoses, support recovery, eliminate stigma, and lower barriers to substance use disorder and mental health treatment within their congregations and communities. They explored opportunities to collaborate with the Biden-Harris Administration to expand access to lifesaving measures such as harm reduction, treatment, and opioid overdose reversal medications as well as prevention efforts among youth.
Administration officials reaffirmed the key role faith leaders play in addressing the nation’s overdose crisis, and expressed deep gratitude for the work and voices of these leaders who provide strong support systems and safe spaces for many Americans with substance use disorder.
The Biden-Harris Administration has made clear that addressing the overdose epidemic will require a whole-of-society effort. During his first State of the Union address, President Biden announced beating the overdose epidemic as one of the four pillars of his Unity Agenda, focused on issues where all Americans can come together and make progress for the nation. Over the past two years, the Biden-Harris Administration has made this issue a top priority, and taken historic actions to address substance use, protect public health and public safety, go after drug traffickers’ profits, and save lives. Thanks to historic funding and bipartisan efforts, overdose death rates are flattening, access to treatment is expanding, and we are seizing historic amounts of fentanyl at our borders.
- Stephen Benjamin, Assistant and Senior Advisor to the President and Director, White House Office of Public Engagement
- Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
- Melissa Rogers, Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director, White House Office of the Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
- Rev. Dr. Que English, Director, Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Department and Health and Human Services
- Johnny Baker, Pastor and Global Executive Director, Celebrate Recovery
- Jeni Baker, Co-Global Executive Director, Celebrate Recovery
- Imam Mohamed Magid, Executive Religious Director, All Dulles Area Muslim Society
- Commissioner Kenneth Hodder, National Commander, The Salvation Army of the United States of America
- Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, Interim President and General Secretary, National Council of Churches
- Ibrahim Sablaban, D.O., Board of Directors, American Muslim Health Professionals
- Bhante Yogavacara Rahula Director and Guiding Teacher, Lion of Wisdom Meditation Center
- Ishan Shivanand, Founder, Yoga of Immortals
- Reverend A.R. Bernard, Founder and Senior Pastor, Christian Cultural Center
- Ralph McCloud, Director, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Richard Coll, Senior Executive Director, Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Rabbi Johnathan Roos, Senior Rabbi, Temple Sinai