This program works for a more compassionate response to the growing opioid epidemic, and by extension other forms of substance use. The evidence-based principles of harm reduction practices are central to the prevention of deaths by overdose and to reducing the negative effects of drug use on individual lives. Understanding harm reduction and that substance use disorder is a public health issue are at the very core of the program. Evidence readily supports the benefit of having faith communities and people of faith as compassion allies for people who use drugs.
Clergy play a crucial role in the mental health delivery system and are often contacted before a physician or psychiatrist. With this program, we provide faith leaders and communities of faith across the state with accurate information, accessible resources, and the means to dispel the myths about the opioid crisis. With accurate information, we can all work toward compassionate rather than coercive responses, restorative rather than retributive responses.