North Carolina faith leaders started hearing from their parishioners several years ago that the opioid crisis was hitting home.
They didn’t always know how to help.
For many families and individuals, clergy can be a first contact during a crisis, said Elizabeth Brewington, an associate director of the NC Council of Churches.
But in the mid 2010s, with opioid overdoses claiming more lives statewide than car crashes, the council needed strategies to support those facing addiction.
“Faith communities were losing people, congregants, community members, and they didn’t know what to do,” said Brewington, who works in the council’s Partners in Health and Wholeness Program focusing on drug policy and other issues.