National Urban League, Anthem, and the Anthem Foundation Team Up to Help Prevent Opioid Misuse and Addiction

Young Adults are Among the Most Vulnerable to Epidemic

NEW YORK (December 4, 2017): In response to the opioid addiction crisis devastating communities across the country, the National Urban League and Anthem, Inc., with the support of the Anthem Foundation, are teaming up to help create awareness and prevent opioid misuse and addiction with a free online toolkit, What's Up With Opioids?

The online toolkit was designed specifically to help non-profits, faith-based groups, parents and others keep their communities safe by preventing opioid misuse and addiction—especially among young adults. The website includes a workshop kit with ready-to-use materials and a step-by-step guide for hosting a local discussion or town hall meeting.

Presented in an easy to understand format, the kit features a video and slideshow to help people learn about opioids, risk factors, warnings signs and prevention strategies. The workshop kit also provides tips for inviting key community experts such as pharmacists, doctors and first responders who bring expertise and local insights that are impactful to the conversation, as well as customizable postcards and social media posts to help organizers promote their event. And, for individuals who need help for substance abuse disorders, the site also provides links to helpful community resources.

"Young people are among the most vulnerable to this deadly epidemic," National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. MoriaI said. "Drug overdoses killed more Americans than even guns last year, and are the leading cause of death for Americans under 50. Urban League affiliates who work closely with this vulnerable population are in a unique position to effectively intervene to prevent misuse and addiction."

Opioid addiction among Americans under the age of 25 is skyrocketing, climbing nearly six-fold between 2001 and 2014. Researchers predict that, without serious intervention, the annual death toll from opioid overdose will increase by at least 35 percent by 2027. In fact, the White House recently directed the Department of Health and Human Services to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency.

"Today all our communities are at risk of being touched by the opioid crisis," said Craig Samitt, MD, chief clinical officer at Anthem, Inc. "This free online resource is another way parents, local churches, service organizations  and others in our community can become better informed and help raise awareness on  this important issue facing so many."

To showcase the ease of using What's Up With Opioids?, the National Urban League together with Anthem affiliated health plans will host town hall meetings at Urban League affiliates in Indianapolis, Indiana; St. Louis, Missouri; Hampton Roads, Virginia; Hartford, Connecticut; and Louisville, Kentucky. "We are committed to breaking down barriers to economic and civic participation," Morial said. "In addition to the devastating health consequences of the epidemic, opioid misuse and addiction are robbing young people of their futures." Morial noted that opioid addiction is linked to other social challenges at the heart of the Urban League mission, such as homelessness and unemployment.

For more information, visit

National Urban League, Teresa Candori, 212.558.5362,
Anthem, Inc., Leslie Porras, Leslie, 202.508.7981

National Urban League

The National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically  under served urban communities. Founded in 1910 and headquartered in New York City, the National Urban League spearheads the efforts of its local affiliates through the development of programs, public policy research and advocacy. Today, the National Urban League has 88 affiliates serving 300 communities, providing direct services that impact and improve  the  lives  of  more than 2 million  people nationwide. Visit and follow on Twitter @NatUrbanLeague.

Anthem Inc.

Anthem is working to transform health care with trusted and caring solutions. Our health plan companies deliver quality products and services that give their members access to the care they need. With over 73 million people served by its affiliated companies, including more than 40 million within its family of health plans, Anthem is one of the nation's leading health benefi ts companies. More information

Anthem Foundation

The Anthem Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc. and through charitable contributions and program s, the Foundation promotes the inherent commitment of Anthem , Inc. to enhance the health and well­ being of individuals and families in communities that Anthem, Inc. and its affiliated health plans serve. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These disease states and medical conditions include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalencein adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company's year-round Associate Giving program which provides a 50 percent match of associates' pledges, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. To learn more about the Anthem Foundation, please visit and its blog at http://anthem foundation.tumblr .com.
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