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A Letter from the HHS Partnership Center Director

Greetings friends,
The data is in and, as many would have anticipated, the COVID-19 pandemic was experienced with particular hardship among those with substance use disorders. In 2020, the rate of drug overdose deaths accelerated and increased 31% from the year before – usually from opioids – but also increasingly from the use of more than one drug at the same time, or poly substance use. (1)

Today is International Overdose Prevention Awareness Day and the HHS Federal Drug Administration has released its Overdose Prevention Framework outlining the agency’s approach to the overdose crisis as it continues to evolve.

As a faith or community leader you know that the road to recovery from addiction is lived out in community where challenges to maintaining sobriety are most often encountered- whether it’s access to health care services, recovery support groups, employment, or in meeting housing and other basic needs.

Around the country, faith and community members are saving people from dying of overdoses, connecting them to treatment and recovery support programs, bringing restoration to the lives of individuals and families who have suffered the consequences of addiction, and are strengthening the resilience of younger generations.

To further encourage these efforts, the HHS Partnership Center has released its newly revised Practical Toolkit for Preventing Drug Overdose and Supporting Recovery in Faith and Community Settings as a guide for the practical actions communities can take to support those seeking freedom from addiction and the restoration of their lives and livelihoods.

And, this year, the toolkit has been translated into Spanish for use by leaders serving Spanish-speaking congregations and communities.

We remain grateful for your efforts in communities around the country to address this crisis. Thank you for being an agent of hope and a beacon of light to those who need you most in your communities.

Rev. Dr. Que English
Director, The Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships
U.S. Dept. Health and Human Services

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