The Christian Life and Public Affairs Special (CLPA) Committee is focusing on the opioid epidemic. The committee desires to raise awareness of opioid poisoning and addiction among N.C. Baptists. The tragedies associated with opioid poisoning and addiction impact churches within every denomination located in every community across the state.
Opioid poisoning and addiction touches families across all social, racial and economic lines. This is not a crisis limited to others. It is a crisis that touches all of us. The effects of this crisis are staggering.
Consider the following:
From 1999 to 2017 more than 13,000 North Carolinians died from unintentional opioid-involved poisoning deaths, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in November 2018.
According to current Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates, the cost of unintentional opioid-involved poisoning deaths in North Carolina totaled $2.5 billion in 2017.
Since 2011, more people die from drug poisoning than traffic fatalities in this state, according to HHS.
The Center on Addiction estimates that 19.3 percent of our state budget goes to this problem.
I do hope that some of this information shocks you and causes you to think. I implore you to research the impacts of opioid poisoning and addiction in your local area and discover what is happening in your own backyard. Check with emergency services, your local hospital, your police (local and state), Department of Social Services and the health department. They will more than likely be glad to give you some information.
The strategy of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina calls N.C. Baptists to impact lostness through disciple-making. A healthy disciple is the goal and that health is found spiritually, physically and emotionally. The effects of opioid poisoning and addiction impact each of these areas of health for individuals and families.
Satan attacks people from many sources to create barriers between individuals and the gospel. It is this connection with the gospel that makes awareness and engagement with this issue strategic for the CLPA committee.
Remember that awareness brings knowledge and knowledge brings solutions.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Robert Jordan is chair of the Christian Life & Public Affairs Special Committee of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.)