Outreach worker, Kelly Culbert, right, consoles her longtime friend in the Bronx.

Covering a Crisis: Media Representation of Overdose in America

Outreach worker, Kelly Culbert, right, consoles her longtime friend in the Bronx.
Outreach worker, Kelly Culbert, right, consoles her longtime friend in the Bronx. Photo credit: Ryan Christopher Jones

Featuring: Christopher Cappoziello, Jordan Gale, Ryan Christopher Jones, Rebecca Kiger

Produced by

United Photo Industries with Support from the Open Society Foundations






Printing by


Overdose is currently the leading cause of death in the United States for those under 50. What is the role of photojournalism in the overdose crisis?

United Photo Industries aims to question the common visual tropes used in mainstream media reports of drug use and overdose, and to challenge sensationalist coverage.

This exhibit explores tough ethical considerations made by photographers and editors covering the overdose crisis, and asks a question: How does photojournalism impact public health?


United Photo Industries (UPI) is a New York based nonprofit organization that works to promote a wider understanding of, and increased access to, the art of photography.

Since its founding in 2011, UPI has rapidly solidified its position in the public art landscape by continuing to showcase thought-provoking, challenging, and exceptional photography from across the globe. In its first seven years, UPI has presented the work of more than 2,500 visual artists in gallery exhibitions and public art installations worldwide.

Proudly devoted to cultivating strategic partnerships, creative collaborations, and community spirit, UPI approaches its mission of cultivating a wide, diverse audience for powerful photographic narratives with unrelenting zeal, working closely with photo festivals, city agencies, and other nonprofit organizations across the globe to create new exhibition opportunities—and we are only getting started!


The Open Society Foundations, founded by George Soros, are the world’s largest private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights. George Soros opened his first international foundation in Hungary in 1984.

Today, the Open Society Foundations support a vast array of projects in more than 120 countries, providing thousands of grants every year through a network of national and regional foundations and offices.