Faith community doing right thing addressing scourge

Many have asked how are faith-based organizations addressing the opioid crisis? That’s not to imply the faith community is not doing enough.
Matter of fact, many churches are integral to addressing this scourge and don’t hype their contributions.
Instead, they work quietly to fill gaps and advance services the public and private sectors, and nonprofits, don’t provide.
However, it’s time the faith community began owning the services it provides for those dealing with addiction.
No, not for self-promotion, which is contrary to the principles and teachings of most churches. But to increase awareness about the challenges of the opioid crisis.
So, maybe not miraculous, but it was certainly encouraging to see the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, Catholic Charities of West Virginia and West Virginia Council of Churches  host a conference to do just that Saturday.
Better yet, the conference — “Faith Hope Love: Creating Connections for Healing” —  was held in our backyard at St. Francis DeSales Catholic Church.
Let’s be clear. Many churches  open their doors to meetings of recovery groups, provide space for events  on addiction and some sponsor programs that address addiction.
For example, Celebrate Recovery, a Christian 12-step program is designed to facilitate recovery. Other programs, such as Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon also offer such programs.
Dr, Kevin Blankenship, a retired emergency physician, was the keynote speaker at the conference.
Blankenship, is the founder of Jacob’s Ladder, which initially was met with unease in Preston County in 2015. Since then, the farm-based drug rehab facility for young men, near Aurora, has won over that community and generated no complaints. Residents of this program are also involved in community service projects, some with local churches.
Many in every walk of life, including some churches’ congregants, may have mixed feelings about coping with people dealing with addiction.
Some are frustrated by the often erratic starts and stops in people in recovery. Crimes committed by those in the throes of addiction do not endear them to many, either.
Still, we maintain that providing addicts options to get clean rather than jail time or being ostracized is not only in their best interest, but in society’s, too.
We rarely quote biblical verses here, but in light of this conference’s sponsors and focus this one comes to mind from 2 Corinthians 12:10:
“That is why, for the sake of Christ, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
We applaud the faith community for its contributions to those suffering opioid addiction from every flock.

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