Our parish is being asked to participate in a pilot program on the opioid crisis. Below is the letter from our regional representative as well as a survey we are to take as a parish. We ask that you read this survey and be prepared to respond personally to the questions so we can eventually determine a consensus of our preparedness as a parish. Much more to come on this important issue.
Dear Clergy and/or Northern Piedmont Region POC,
As you know, the Northern Piedmont Region voted in January to participate as a pilot region in a new Diocesan initiative to develop a Church-wide response to the Opioid Crisis. The Diocesan Addiction and Recovery Team (DART) is leading this initiative. We are grateful for our region’s commitment to empower our parishes to become places of healing and hope for people whose lives have been impacted by this crisis.
The nature of opioid addiction – the skyrocketing rate of addiction, the elevated risk of mortality, and the unprecedented impact on families, friends and communities – makes this an issue of special focus for DART. We also recognize that addiction to alcohol and non-opioid drugs remains a serious and important issue that deserves great attention, and so this effort will encompass all aspects of addiction and offer support and celebration for all who seek recovery.
As the liaison between DART and the Northern Piedmont Region I will be leading this pilot program. I am looking forward to building lines of communication among our parishes and collaborating on educational programs, special services and developing resources within our region.
I am including a Congregation and Community Readiness Survey, and I ask that you complete this and return it to me by March 31. This survey will help our team see what kinds of ministries and other activities are already happening in our region. Hopefully, it will also prove to be a starting place for you to consider your own parish’s perspectives and attitudes toward opioid, alcohol and other addictions. We believe that candid reflection on these difficult topics creates an environment where meaningful and compassionate response can begin. I will be happy to discuss any questions that may arise as you reflect upon this survey.
In addition, please identify someone in your parish who would like to serve as the contact person for this pilot. This may be an individual already involved in work or advocacy in the addiction and recovery field, or someone who feels truly called to this effort. The contact will be the person with whom I communicate information about our work and will have the opportunity to meet with other parish contacts to learn about educational resources, explore program ideas and plan regional events. You may have multiple people in your parish who would be interested in participating in this effort, so please include their names as well.
I am grateful that our region has elected to take on this exciting yet challenging work and look forward to engaging with all our congregations as we discern how the Holy Spirit calls us to bring hope and healing to the individuals, families and communities impacted by the opioid crisis, substance abuse and addiction.
Congregation and Community Readiness Survey
Please respond to the following questions to help us discern how parishes understand the issues and resources related to addiction and recovery. This will enable us to identify areas where education, resources and other support would be beneficial in our region’s efforts to more effectively respond to the opioid crisis as well as the serious challenges of addiction to alcohol and non-opioid drugs. Any reports from this survey will not identify individual responses other than to share relevant ministries and programs already occurring in our region.
Very | Somewhat | Not Very | Not at All | I don’t Know
1. How aware are you of opioid misuse/addiction prevention efforts in the NOVA/Piedmont area?
2. How aware are you of alcohol and non-opioid drug misuse/addiction prevention efforts in the NOVA/Piedmont area?
3. How concerned are you about opioid misuse/addiction in the NOVA/Piedmont area?
4. How concerned are you about alcohol and non-opioid drug misuse/addiction in the NOVA/Piedmont area?
5. How important is it for your congregation to work with the community to address opioid misuse/addiction problems?
6. How important is it for your congregation to work with the community to address alcohol and non-opioid drug misuse/addiction problems?
7. How involved is your congregation in opioid misuse/addiction prevention?
8. How involved is your congregation in alcohol and non-opioid misuse/addiction prevention?
9. How involved is your congregation in helping those who have problems with opioid misuse/addiction issues?
10. How involved is your congregation in helping those who have problems with alcohol or non-opioid drug abuse/addiction issues?
11. How effectively do you believe you could respond to a congregational member who asks guidance for an opioid misuse/addiction problem?
12. How effectively do you believe you could respond to a congregational member who asks guidance for an alcohol and/or non-opioid drug misuse/addiction problem?
13. To what extent do you believe opioid dependency, alcoholism and other addiction is a disease?
14. If someone needed help for an opioid, alcohol or other substance abuse how familiar are you with the resources that are available in the NOVA/Piedmont area for referral?
15. To what extent does your local area need more prevention efforts and treatment resources?
16. How likely would you participate in a congregational effort to address opioid, alcohol and other substance abuse problems?
Where we are and where we would like to go:
1. Our parish currently offers the following resources and ministries relating to alcohol and drug abuses issues (i.e. 12-step meetings, informational brochures, educational programs.)
2. Our parish would be open to exploring offering resources and ministries such as:
3. The Diocesan Addiction and Recovery Team will make available resources related to Recovery, Education, Advocacy and Liturgy. What resources do you feel would be particularly beneficial for your parish in addressing opioid, alcohol and other substance abuse/addiction?
We are asking each parish in our region to designate a Parish Addiction and Recovery Contact. Working with contacts from other parishes within the region, this individual will have the opportunity to plan regional services and activities and share ideas about resources and activities that the parish can consider. By keeping up to date on available resources and services the parish contact will enable the parish to quickly respond to issues that may arise unexpectedly. Some parishes may have multiple people who would be interested in participating in this pilot and we encourage you to include their names and contact information as well:
Additional parishioners to include in pilot program