The following is an update from the TWK Church & Society team regarding the drug crisis in the U.S. and the church’s response.
In a recently updated article from CNN, new statistics regarding overdose deaths in the year 2021 were released. The following is a brief summation of some of the key findings from the last year.
- Overdose deaths in the US were up 15% from 2020-2021
- That spike represents 14,000 more people that died of overdose than in the previous year
- In 2019, more than 20 million people ages 12 and older reported having a substance abuse disorder, only 10% of whom reported receiving care
- (this leaves an estimated 18 million +- people who aren’t)
- Overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, psychostimulants such as methamphetamine, and cocaine all increased between 2020 and 2021
“When we report numbers, we must remember that each number represents an individual, their families, and their communities,” Volkow said. “Compounding this tragedy, we have underused evidence-based treatments already in place that could help many people. We must meet people where they are to prevent overdoses, reduce harm, and connect people to proven treatments to reduce drug use.”
TWK Church and Society covet the thoughts, prayers, and movement towards action of the people called Methodists to be stirred to compassion, understanding, and to be agents of help, healing, and hope. We all have a role to play in helping to bring a resolution to this terrible problem that is impacting young, old, rich, poor, and persons of all colors and identities.
TWK Church and Society continues to seek to compile a list of local churches that offer services or programs centered on recovery, accountability, and healing. If your congregation offers groups for AA, NA, Al-Anon, Celebrate Recovery, Etc. please email a brief explanation, including meeting times, location, contact information, etc. to firstname.lastname@example.org. They hope to compile a list to help to resource lay and clergy members to be connected with chances for recovery, healing, and restoration. Together, they pray they can help erase the stigmas surrounding addiction, trauma, and sickness and help all people to be restored and redeemed through the power of God’s grace, group discipleship, and mutual accountability.