Engaging Faith-Based Communities in the Opioid Epidemic
Multiple Pathways to Recovery
Everyone has their own pathway towards healing.
Recovery encompasses an individual’s whole life, including mind, body, spirit and community. There are a growing number of ways people are approaching recovery from opioid use disorders, including: medical, public health, faith and social support. Recovery may begin in a doctor’s office, treatment center, church, mosque, synagogue, prison, peer support meeting or in one’s own home. For many, religious faith is critical to their recovery.
Access, Knowledge, Trust
Understanding addiction creates a culture of acceptance and support. Faith-based communities can be responsive and respectful to individual’s health beliefs, practices and cultural needs – they play an important role in helping people who suffer from opioid use disorder. By taking a knowledgeable stand on the issue of opioid use, faith-based communities and leaders can help bring healing to individuals and families in their communities.
Additionally, faith leaders are in a unique position where people may come to them for help before anyone else. They have built trusted relationships with the individuals they serve, and that trust plays an important role in connecting people to the help they need.
Mobilize and Take Action
Faith-based communities can partner with local expertise (public health offices, treatment facilities, hospitals or nonprofit service providers) to help raise awareness, prevent addiction and save lives.
Leaders in faith and community organizations can take action by:
- Responding to an opioid overdose emergency
- Using Poison Control for questions about poisoning and medication interactions
- Identifying early signs and symptoms of substance use disorder
- Navigating the referral to treatment and recovery supports
- Promoting safe disposal of expired and unused medications
- Encouraging families to talk to each other when they need help and support
Faith-Based Community Action Stories:
The stories featured on this page show examples of how you can partner with faith-based communities throughout Minnesota.
Muslim Faith Leaders Response to the Opioid Crisis
The Minnesota Department of Health completed a series of trainings with Imams in the Twin Cities. This project is a replicable model of how to partner with faith-based communities in the opioid epidemic response, and in understanding substance use disorder, mental health and trauma more broadly. Read the full story.
Muslim Faith Leaders Share Ideas & Action Steps
After the Imam Substance Use Disorder Training, Muslim faith leaders shared ideas and action steps they’d like to implement in their communities to help combat the opioid epidemic. Watch the videos below and share their important messages:
- “It touches home – especially opioids.”
Imam Abdirashid Mohamed Tuure shares what he learned about factors leading to substance use disorder and how community leaders can help those suffering from addiction.
- “There are ways to be aware of the use of opioids amongst our youth.”
Imam Shukri Hussein is passionate about prevention with Somali youth. Hear how he will use this new knowledge to take action against the opioid epidemic.
- “Before disease comes, it is better to do prevention.”
Imam Saad Musse Roble shares three essential points for protecting local communities in the opioid epidemic response.
- “When you learn something, it is good to pass the knowledge on.”
Imam Ahmed M Burale believes it is his duty to act on information that can help preserve the health of his community. By sharing and spreading learnings, local leaders can increase awareness and education about the danger of opioids.
- “If we understand and internalize it, we can share it when we speak.”
Imam Abdulrahman Hashi explains how knowledge and resources on the opioid epidemic has helped him communicate with his congregation in a thoughtful way and respond to those who need help and support.
Share Your Story
We want to hear how faith-based and community partners across Minnesota are working together to bring hope and healing to their communities! What initiatives are you working on? What have you accomplished? What kind of impact have you seen? Share your story with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Please visit the Opioid Dashboard for more information on opioid overdose death, nonfatal overdose, use, misuse, substance use disorder, prescribing practices, supply, diversion, harm reduction, co-occurring conditions, and social determinants of health.