Religious-based organizations can educate themselves on the opioid epidemic and the science of addiction. They can in turn share this information with their community. It is imperative to create a culture of acceptance and support without enabling a person struggling with addiction. Religion and addiction can be especially dangerous together, especially if addiction is viewed as stereotypical immorality. When addiction is viewed as a chronic condition, not simply a personal failure, it becomes an opportunity for better understanding amongst members of their organization who may be struggling with addiction or who have family or friends who struggle with addiction. The lines of communication are opened, and it makes someone who needs help and resources apt to approach the organization’s leadership for assistance.
There are federal and state resources available to assist religious organizations in this endeavor. More education, including but not limited to: neurological evidence about addiction as a disease, how trauma can affect someone with a predisposition towards addiction, medication assisted treatment programs, safe drug disposal and proper pain management can all help in generating a supportive and compassionate environment.
How can I do that?
Your community can partner with your local public health office, hospitals, community health centers or nonprofit service organizations to host educational events.