Washington, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, in partnership with the AmerisourceBergen Foundation and iHeartMedia, today launched Sharing Solutions: A Virtual Nationwide Tour to drive business-led solutions to the opioid epidemic as more than 40 states report increases in opioid-related mortality amid COVID-19. As part of the campaign, the Foundation and its partners will convene 50 virtual events in 50 states to showcase innovative workforce solutions and support employers as they tackle growing substance misuse in their communities and in the post-COVID workplace.
“Today, the fight against the opioid epidemic collides with our battle against COVID-19, exacerbating the devastation already felt by communities across the nation,” said Carolyn Cawley, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. “By launching this virtual national tour and tapping into the reach and expertise of our partner iHeartMedia, we hope to arm employers – and communities in every corner of the country – with the right tools and resources so they are prepared and empowered to address the double impact of COVID-19 and a resurgent opioid crisis.”
Kicking off in Louisiana on January 19, the virtual nationwide tour will feature townhall-style conversations with leading health experts including 20th U.S. Surgeon General VADM Jerome Adams. Leidos CEO Roger Krone and Nationwide Foundation President Chad Jester will also be featured in each program, followed by a live panel of local guests. Moderating these livestreamed events will be key public figures such as Randy Grimes, former NFL Player in long-term recovery and Founder of Pro Athletes in Recovery. Grimes will moderate the Florida program on February 11, with other moderators to include musical artists and iHeartMedia personalities. All events will be open to the public at no charge to help reduce stigma and heighten dialogue among impacted communities.
“As a co-founder of the National Opioid Action Coalition, iHeart has been committed to combating the opioid crisis affecting communities across America,” said Alexandra Cameron, vice president of strategic partnerships & government initiatives for iHeartMedia. “By collaborating closely with the U.S. Chamber Foundation, we are bringing public and private sectors together in this mission, and including pop culture influencers who can bring attention to this important issue.”
“The combined health and economic crisis linked to the coronavirus creates major challenges for employers and employees already struggling with the opioid epidemic,” said Gina Clark, president of the AmerisourceBergen Foundation. “We know this is a problem that requires localized solutions, and we’re proud to work with the U.S. Chamber Foundation and its new partners this year as they bring renewed attention to this important issue, in addition to the deep expertise and network needed to make a real impact at the local level.”
The Sharing Solutions initiative was launched in March 2019 with the support of the AmerisourceBergen Foundation as an online resource hub to bring together expertise from multiple sectors, and aggregate workforce resources and case studies in an accessible way to help employers and employees cultivate a drug-free workplace. The 2019 initiative also featured a 10-city tour in communities hard hit by the epidemic, including Abingdon, VA; Lexington, KY; and Columbus, OH; among others.
About U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness. We educate the public on the conditions necessary for business and communities to thrive, how business positively impacts communities, and emerging issues and creative solutions that will shape the future.