Faith-based organizations have a long-standing history in the community of providing support to people in need. They often are the first place to which people turn when facing life challenges — for themselves or for family members.

Because of their position at the heart of many communities, FBOs over time have developed unique and commonly recognized resources that strengthen the whole community’s service delivery system.

The Commonwealth Prevention Alliance (CPA) has spearheaded the PA STOP Opiate Abuse Campaign in Pennsylvania for the last five years. The PA Stop website serves as a valuable resource with information, media materials, and where to find help when dealing with issues regarding substance misuse.

CPA recognizes that drug and alcohol prevention programs have been working in collaboration with faith-based organizations (FBOS) effectively in many parts of Pennsylvania. The purpose of this tool kit is to provide faith-based leaders with consistent, accurate information to assist members of their congregations who may be dealing with substance misuse, treatment, and recovery.

The kit, set up in a Question and Answer format, is designed to complement the other two tool kits on the PA Stop web site; The Family Tool Kit and the Workplace Tool Kit. It also provides information on how to access drug and alcohol service systems in
Pennsylvania and associated organizations.

There are far-reaching benefits of having faith-based organizations equipped to be active in the delivery of social services in general, and behavioral health and recovery support services in particular. The services offered by these groups not only address basic substance use and mental health needs but can also assist in shaping individuals’ lifestyles in many ways.

FBOs are instrumental in promoting wellness and enhanced quality of life, in treating mental health and substance use disorders, and in preventing relapse. Many are excellent referral sources and key resource partners for accessing substance misuse and mental health programs.

In recent years, because of rising needs, limited resources, and a realization that holistic approaches increase successful outcomes, service providers are finding it essential to work together in unprecedented ways. For many secular community agencies, however, establishing valuable and sustainable partnerships with faith-based groups may pose significant challenges. Despite the challenges, though, faith groups bring a host of benefits to the community partnership table.

Faith based groups are:

  • Trusted, credible, and have personal relationships within the communities they serve
  • Cultural cornerstones within the community
  • Responsive to emergent community needs (e.g., natural disasters, family emergencies, community trends) and can customize programs and services to address these conditions
  • Located in the community and can reach underserved individuals whose needs might not be met

Working together FBOS and agencies can give families and individuals the support needed to not only reduce the stigma related to substance misuse, but to move toward healthier, productive lives.

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