How do we educate our members and build capacity?
Individuals in a faith-based setting can absolutely save lives by referring people to proper treatment and helping those in need navigate systems of continued care. Leaders in faith can be trained to respond to emergency situations, make referrals to treatment and recovery support providers, provide ongoing support for those in recovery and living with an addiction, and even become peer recovery coaches.
In order to better build community capacity:
- Train community members to recognize the symptoms of an overdose and how to administer naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug.
- Organize a Mental Health First Aid® training for your community.
- Offer training and certification for youth or adult peer-recovery coaches in your community.
How can we offer support?
Addiction can leave the lives of individuals and their families drastically altered by the loss of jobs, homes, or damaged relationships. Faith-based organizations have a unique opportunity to provide the kinds of wrap-around services that can help to restore and rebuild lives and livelihoods.
Ways that faith-based organizations can rebuild and offer support include:
- Support individuals and families in rebuilding their lives by assisting with food, transportation or housing, computer skills, or help with securing their GEDs.
- Connect with workforce development efforts and certification programs that provide life skills, on-the-job-training, and internships. Consider partnering with the local business sector to facilitate job placement efforts (e.g., culinary arts, housekeeping, welding, etc.).
- Start a Community “Re-Entry” Backpack Drive and support the formerly incarcerated.
- Partner with the community to help support foster families through donating clothing and necessities, as well as other wrap around services like babysitting.
- Offer a location for support groups to meet.
- Support efforts that celebrate recovery.
How can we make a positive impact on children in our community?
Children who have been exposed to abuse, neglect, mental illness, substance use in the household, or any other Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE), may experience worse health outcomes, learning difficulties, and an increased risk of developing a substance use disorder. In order to nurture the healthy development of future generations, it’s vital to reduce known risk factors, elevate protective factors – such as the support of stable and caring relationships – and implement evidence-based programs that support families and empower youth.
Faith-based organizations can get ahead of the problem by:
- Finding ways to give teens the straight facts about brain development and substance use so they can make smart life choices.
- Hosting educational series on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and trauma-informed approaches.
- Creating or volunteering for support mentoring programs to help strengthen the resilience of younger generations.
- Offer opportunities for fun, positive, social activities for the younger members
What can we do to work with others?
With more people succumbing to addiction every day, it’s important to institute an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach. All across the country, treatment professionals, law enforcement, faith-based communities, service providers, drug courts, schools, recreation centers, media, businesses, policy-makers, families, and youth leaders are stepping forward to contribute their time, talent and resources to help coordinate and serve those struggling with addiction.
In order to better connect and collaborate:
- Participate in local coalitions by contacting your county SCA to learn of those that may already be in existence in your area.
- Help prevent access and misuse of prescription drugs in your home and community.
- Partner with local pharmacies near you, as well as local law enforcement, and host a “Prescription Drug Take Back Day.”