Substance Use


The Anthem Foundation will invest up to $30 million over the next three years to support programs that address mental health, with an emphasis on substance use disorder.


Substance use disorder (SUD) is a major public health challenge that is taking an enormous toll on our society. 

In 2020, 40.3 million people ages 12 or older (or 14.5 percent) had a SUD in the past year. Defined as a mental disorder, SUD affects a person’s brain and behavior, leading to the inability to control the use of substances such as legal or illegal drugs, alcohol, and medications. Researchers have found that about half the individuals who have a SUD will experience a co-occurring mental disorder, and vice versa. Although most people take prescription medications responsibly, an estimated one in seven of us will develop a substance use disorder at some point in our lives.

The consequences of substance abuse extend well beyond those that affect the users. Such abuse influences the lives of an additional 40 million people, including the families of abusers and those injured or killed by intoxicated drivers. The annual economic impact is estimated to be $249 billion for alcohol misuse and $193 billion for illicit drug use.

In the U.S. mental health concerns are still here and may be getting worse.

The number of Americans who had a substance-use disorder (SUD) in 2020.

The percentage of adolescents ages 12 to 17 who had a major depressive episode or an SUD in 2020.

The number of Americans who had either any mental illness or an SUD in 2020.


Following our refined strategy to champion this holistic approach, the Anthem Foundation is focusing on programs that work to address an array of care and service options, including prevention and early intervention, crisis response and intervention, long-term intervention, and community resources and recovery supports.

In addition, our partners will address racial disparities and biases, promote whole-person care, focus on the needs of local communities, and drive specific, measurable outcomes.

Learn about our funding criteria.

Featured Grants

Overdose Lifeline

Overdose Lifeline

Research shows that individuals exposed to substances before the age of 15 are five times more likely to misuse substances later in life. That’s why youth-focused prevention education is critical. 

A $75,000 grant from the Anthem Foundation to Overdose Lifeline is helping the nonprofit reach and educate more teenagers in Indiana schools. Funds will support the recruitment and training of additional facilitators and provide ongoing technical assistance to existing staff.

Open Table

Open Table

People need social connections and a broad range of resources to handle challenges posed by social drivers of health (SDOH). The Open Table model trains communities to promote long-term supportive relationships and provides access to the social capital that equips families to thrive.

Through its recent $100,000 grant, the Anthem Foundation is supporting this evidence-based model in Virginia, focusing on pregnant and parenting women with barriers related to SDOH. Each participant will work with a team to develop a life plan specific to her family and her recovery journey.