The North Carolina Council of Churches, through its Partners in Health and Wholeness program, is in a unique position to shed light on and help bring about a more compassionate response to the growing opioid epidemic. The evidence is readily available to support the benefit of faith communities and faith prophesying individuals to offer a positive influence on those suffering from health issues, including addictions.
The clergy, in particular, play a crucial role in the mental health delivery system and are often contacted before a physician or psychiatrist is ever considered. The goal of this program is to provide to faith leaders and communities of faith across the state, accurate information, accessible resources, and to dispel the many myths about the opioid crisis and those affected by it so that everyone can work toward compassionate rather than punitive and coercive responses. Activities will center on a series of in-person breakfast meetings and the creation of a worship toolkit for faith leaders and lay persons.
We hope to foster a greater understanding of the crisis, especially the truth that addiction is a health issue, not a moral issue, and, thus, a faith-filled response is centered on caring for the person, not converting the person.