By Neal Broadus
Jackson County Substance Abuse Counselor
Operation UNITE is an organization made up of individual people who care about the communities they live in. Now UNITE has developed with a way for others to also show that they care about their community.
Known as the “UNITE Cares Ministry Program,” this initiative was designed to give churches and people of faith a way to play a more active role in the fight against drugs.
The drug abuse epidemic sweeping our region can never be fully solved by law enforcement alone. At its core, the substance abuse problem is one of mental health and spiritual wellbeing. While treatment centers are working hard to help heal minds that have been corrupted by drug abuse, there is only so much they can do.
In many instances a complete solution to the problem of drug abuse requires involvement from faith-based organizations and churches. After all, our churches should be a place where people can go to receive help and spiritual healing when they need it. With a little effort, the front door to your church could also be the door to recovery for an addict that has long suffered the ravages of substance abuse.
UNITE Cares can show individuals how to become a very important part of the solution for drug abuse by focusing on three main areas: youth outreach programs, community education programs and recovery programs. By working on these three areas community members can begin to change lives for the better -- those of addicts and their families.
One of the fastest ways to make an impact is to get involved with your local anti-drug coalition, which is already pursuing programs and activities in your community. You can play a vital role in the coalition by joining the Faith-Based Committee, which works to prevent youth from using drugs and helps provide intervention, treatment, after-care and mentoring to drug abusers and their families.
No church or faith-based organization is too small to get involved with this problem. Everyone has special gifts and talents that they can bring to this very important battle. The fight against drug abuse is like putting together the pieces of a puzzle. If all the pieces aren’t in place, then you can’t see the entire picture. You and your church could be the missing piece needed to turn the tide on drugs.
For more information on how you can become a part of the “UNITE Cares Ministry Program” you can download a program guide at the following web address: http://media.operationunite.org/categories.php?cat_id=4.
By Neal Broadus
Rowan County Fire & EMS
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