Overdosing from despair: How the Church can fight the opioid epidemic

An article I wrote a while back was finally published by Crux today.

3964596491_afc04c21e3_b-690x450I recently had a hernia operation and was given a week’s worth of opioid painkillers for afterwards. Recovering from surgery, and dealing with the pain and discomfort inherent in such things, made me think about the current epidemic of addiction to painkillers in the United States, which has led to the highest rate of drug overdoses ever in the country.

According to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, 2015 saw over 50,000 deaths and both 2016 and 2017 are expected to be higher.

In fact, fatal heroin overdoses, which went up five times between 2007 and 2015, surpassed gun homicides for the first time ever.

We as a Church need to speak to people where they are – and obviously drugs, especially opioids responsible for about two-thirds of drug overdose deaths, are now a big part of many people’s lives. So the Church can’t be silent.

One good example of speaking out is the Archdiocese of Vancouver in Canada. Archbishop J. Michael Miller said, “In 2017 Vancouver, Jesus would also identify himself with those afflicted by mental illness and addiction… as His disciples, we are called to do likewise.” One Catholic hospital there treated 42 overdoses in two days!

Read the rest over at Crux.

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