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Responding to the Opiate Addiction Epidemic


Handout Resource from Bishop Campbell’s talks on God’s Creation and the Opiate Addiction Crisis



Support individuals and families struggling with substance use disorder and the disease of addiction.  Especially pray for and comfort those who lost a family member due to a fatal overdose.

Start talking. Keep family members informed about the dangers of substance abuse as well as the opportunities for help. Participate in Ohio’s Start Talking program, visit

Engage in family life affirming activities. Use resources promoted by the diocesan Office of Marriage & Family Life at

Lock up medications at home. Properly dispose of unused prescription drugs. Find a disposal location in your community.

In a crisis? Call 911 or use the Crisis Text Line, a free, confidential, 24/7 text line for people in crisis. Text 4HOPE to 741741. Call 1-877-275-6364 for information and referral.

Seek treatment. Substance use disorder (the most severe form of which is referred to as “addiction”) is a chronic brain disorder from which people can and do recover.

Encourage ongoing participation in recovery programs for those with substance use disorder and members of their families.


Host prayer vigils for individuals and families struggling with substance abuse. Include petitions for courageous and compassionate law enforcement officers, health care providers, counselors, and treatment center staff in your prayers of the faithful.

Foster effective strategies for parish youth. Consult the diocesan Office of Youth & Young Adult Ministry at

Inform the parish. Make referrals to community services. Publish resources in parish bulletins. Invite an addiction specialist to lead a discussion about this chronic disease.

Train parishioners to respond to an overdose with Naloxone. Mount Carmel Health offers Project DAWN training at or find a site near you at

Partner with service providers like Syntero for at risk families, St. Vincent Family Center for pediatric behavioral health, Maryhaven for addiction treatment, and Catholic Social Services for assisting vulnerable seniors. Host a Narcotics Anonymous meeting or form a family support group. Invite a parish nurse through Mount Carmel Church Partnerships or a local program.

Join with your community opiate addiction task force and other organizations like the diocesan Office for Social Concerns to garner support for prevention and treatment efforts.


Pray. Help students have a regular encounter with Jesus Christ that can transform lives.

Review and implement the Ohio Joint Study Committee on Drug Use Prevention Education recommendations.

Provide substance abuse education to all students (K-12). Offer consistent, age-appropriate, evidence-based substance abuse education. Work with local agencies to support substance abuse education in schools, including mental health recovery board and local boards of health.

Spread substance abuse education across the curriculum. Consider integrating beyond health class into science, language arts, and religious education. Also refer to the Religion Course of Study for materials and consult the diocesan Office of Religious Education & Catechesis and the Office of Catholic Schools at

Survey students. Conduct school and community surveys to monitor students for warning signs and measure success.

Support before- and after-school programs that increase protective factors in children and reduce risk factors.

Support youth-led prevention programs.


Find out about what Ohio is doing to fight opiate abuse.

Host a community forum at your parish. Invite service providers, law enforcement, and other experts to speak. For help to put a forum together, email

Collaborate with your local anti-drug coalition on community efforts to address the drug problem.

Partner with local law enforcement agencies and emergency medical personnel. Support their efforts to fight the scourge of drug trafficking.

Support a continuum of care by strengthening resources for local ADAMH boards. Partner with faith-based and community treatment and recovery programs.

Advocate for evidence-based treatment and recovery programs, mental health services, sober housing, and increased access to diversion for those who struggle with the disease of addiction, both inside the criminal justice system and in our broader community,

Office for Social Concerns

For help or to support:

Catholic Social Services
St. Francis Center
St. Stephen’s Community House

St. Vincent Family Center

Society of St. Vincent de Paul

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