The statistics tell a disturbing story: 70,237 overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2017 - 47,600 of them opioid-related. Can the church respond to this national emergency and help save lives as well as souls?
Parishes in West Virginia are doing just that through ministries as diverse as clean needle exchange, prayer and mentoring with former addicts.
Read all the stories in the UMNS special report on the opioid crisis and learn how churches are providing caring connections for substance abuse sufferers.
Pastors push to help addict offenders rejoin society
Some say religion should stay separate from politics. Others feel the church is called to advocate for mercy and justice.
Churches embrace becoming foster parents
West Virginia has one of the highest rates in the nation of children removed from homes due to drug abuse, and one of the lowest rates of new homes for them. Clergy felt called to respond.
Ministries help children affected by addiction
Children in addicted households are in danger of falling into the same cycle without support. One devoted mentor can make a world of difference.
Outreach ministry for addiction is simple, effective
For the cost of a ream of paper and some printer ink, a United Methodist layperson in West Virginia is confronting his state’s opioid epidemic one door at a time.
Conference asks 'What If' the church confronted the opioid crisis?
Constant media coverage of opioid epidemic makes it seem hopeless, but churches in West Virginia are offering hope instead.
Relationships key for churches to help addicts
It's said the opposite of addiction is connection, and making connections is helping West Virginia churches be in ministry with substance abusers.
Churches walk with addicts on recovery journey
West Virginia United Methodist churches find numerous ways to support people in recovery from addiction. Just being there may be most important.
Pastors cope with sons’ overdose deaths
Pastors are expected to care for their congregations. When two United Methodist clergy lost sons to overdoses, their congregations helped care for them.
Jim (left), a resident at Jacob's Ladder recovery home, checks in with Mark Utterback, director of farming. Residents help with livestock, bale hay, collect firewood and maintain machinery during their six-month stay. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.