Carter County Drug Prevention takes religious approach to curbing substance abuse

The Carter County Drug Prevention coalition spends every day educating about and providing assistance to those suffering from the negative effects of substance addiction. There is one angle people might overlook the drug problem, however: faith.

The coalition has recently announced a partnership with Calvary Baptist Church, in which the church will host a lunch and discussion on the topic of drug addiction and how the church should respond to people suffering from it.

Director of the coalition Jilian Reece said society’s perception of drug addiction is often harmful, even within the Christian faith.

“Very often people are judged for their addictions and it is vital that we start treating addiction as a disease and not a moral failing,” Reece said. “It is so easy for us to judge when we have not walked in someone else’s shoes.”

She said faith’s place in the recovery process is not just an excellent method. For some, it is vital.

“My coalition realizes the importance of faith-based communities in addiction treatment and recovery, so much that the TN Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services put a team in place strictly to help churches and faith-based recovery programs,” she said.

She said the church plays a special role in getting a person back on their feet, even after hitting rock bottom.

“Very often, it is God or whatever higher power that person may believe in that motivates and sustains recovery so it is crucial to have resources in place,” Reece said.

The gathering will not just be about the coalition, however. Other groups, such as Red Legacy Recovery and the Northeast Regional Health Office will also talk about programs and services they offer to those who need them.

The church is located at 225 Holly Lane in Elizabethton, and the lunch and presentations will go from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m on January 17.

Reece said she encouraged anyone who could participate to attend, saying events like these can convince others to help when they might otherwise not have.

“So many times people want to get involved,” she said. “They hear about the opioid crisis and the damage it is doing to families in our community or they have been personally impacted but they don’t know what to do.”

She said she hopes the event empowers others to find ways to better their communities, however possible.

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