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  • Baptist Beacon

Facilitating freedom from opioids

FENTON, MI – From misused prescription opioids to heroin addiction, millions of people in North America are caught up in the drug epidemic. An average of 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Send Relief (NAMB) is catalyzing churches across the continent to help, and we need you and your church to be a part of the fight for change. You can help and together, we can make a difference.

“Americans of faith have taken a leading role in the compassionate approach we need to take on this [opioid] crisis, and we’re eager to support their work, however we can.” — Secretary Alex M. Azar, II, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Do an internet search for resources, you and your church can download to help you get started.

In 2016, over 11 million Americans misused prescription opioids, nearly one million used heroin, and 2.1 million had an opioid-use disorder due to prescription opioids or heroin. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recognizes that faith-based and community partners eagerly and willingly step in to meet the needs of their colleagues, friends and neighbors, especially during times of emergency and distress. That’s why HHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships (also known as “The Partnership Center”) was created. Partnering with government efforts enable a positive response to the current opioid health crisis. Email the Partnership Center for more information:

To Get Started here are just a few ways to open your doors to the community:

Offer your space for weekly recovery programs and/or self-help support groups for people with substance-use disorders, as well as their families who may also need support.

Connect people to existing support in your community.

Offer free transportation to treatment services and/or recovery support programs.

Advertise local meetings in your newsletters, community calendars, websites, and social media channels. Consider including: Local, and/or mutual aid support groups.

  • SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator.

  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline (Free, confidential help in English/Spanish, 24/7): (800) 662- HELP (4357).

A West Virginia pastor wisely said, “Churches are not neutral bystanders: What they don’t say is just as important as what they do say.”

As stated earlier, finding a supportive community is essential to recovery. However, old conventions, as well as misunderstandings about addiction and the recovery process, often stand in the way of our communities providing the critical support and connections people need.

Our hope is that as addiction is understood as a treatable, chronic, medical condition — and not a personal or moral failing — prejudice and shame will be replaced by a spirit of compassion and hope that opens doors, hearts, and resources to those suffering with a substance-use disorder

Pray about how you and your church may become a positive part of overcoming this nationwide epidemic.


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