Kentucky Baptists are breaking the silence about dangers of opioid abuse

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – The state’s largest religious organization is trying to pump fresh energy into the fight against drug abuse.

The 750,000-member Kentucky Baptist Convention is hosting a conference called Breaking the Silence on Aug. 25 at Beechland Baptist Church in Louisville. The event is designed to provide church leaders and families with the information they need to deal with the opioid epidemic.

“I have experienced first-hand what it’s like not knowing where to turn or what to do next when a family member is addicted,” said Eric Allen, head of the KBC’s Mission Mobilization Team. “It’s a hopeless, desperate feeling of urgency and uncertainty when you must respond quickly to intervene, but aren’t sure how.”

Kentucky reported 1,565 fatal drug overdose deaths in 2017. That’s 11 percent more than the previous year.

“Most every family has been touched by the drug epidemic because it is ravaging the Bluegrass state,” Allen said. “There is no family or church that is exempt from its reach. We all know someone who has suffered under this scourge. We must not remain silent any longer. The drug epidemic demands further engagement by the church.”

Allen said many pastors and congregations feel unprepared to deal with drug abuse and don’t know how to help when someone is trapped in addiction.

At the Breaking the Silence event, participants will hear stories of hope and inspiration from parents who have lost children to drug overdoses. Church leaders will learn the importance of using correct language, so the stigma doesn’t keep families from seeking help.

Topics that will be covered include:

•Treatment options and how each is unique.

•Where to find legal and financial assistance.

•Understanding the addicted brain and why treatment must address mind, body and spirit to be effective.

•How to create an atmosphere within the church and home that can present truth about addiction amid grace and compassion.

“The alarm is sounding, and it’s time for the church to respond,” Allen said. “There is help, and Jesus still sets the captive free. But if we’re silent, they will never know.”

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