LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Many ways to help

Published 10:55 am Monday, February 10, 2020

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The following letter is in response to an Our View published in December, “Let us know to help with opioid battle.”

I am one of the pastors at First Presbyterian Church. Over a year ago we assembled a taskforce within the church to help address opioid use in our community. We assessed the existing resources and evaluated our skills and resources.

We identified education as one of our strengths. Therefore, we hosted conversations designed to educate ourselves and the community about substance use.

I recommend all concerned citizens model our approach. Begin by educating yourself about substance use, recovery resources and volunteer options in Stanly County. Then do a self-evaluation.

What skills do you have? What are you comfortable doing? How much time, energy and money can you commit?

The answers to these questions will determine how you participate.

Anyone can join Project Lazarus, a group of government officials and concerned citizens working on solutions to the epidemic. We meet at 9 a.m. on the first Wednesday of every month.

If you are interested in joining this group, please contact the Health Department at PartnersinHealth@stanlycountync.gov.

There are many others ways to get involved.

Hands-on Volunteering: Will’s Place (980-581-8001) is a resource center in Albemarle that needs recovery allies to attend their activities. You don’t need to be in recovery to participate.

Your presence helps build a supportive recovery community.
Grace Place (graceplaceministry132@gmail.com or 980-581-8004) offers free meals to anyone who wants them. They need volunteers to help serve daily breakfast and weekly Monday dinner. They also need volunteers willing to provide counseling, peer support, cleaning, maintenance and support for the new Uwharrie Harm Reduction Initiative.

Material Donations: Grace Place is looking for donations of personal care items. Stanly Community Christian Ministry receives clothing and small items to support their important work.

Financial Support: Will’s Place is raising funds to hire a female peer counselor to work with women in recovery. Bridge to Recovery is raising funds to expand and to support scholarship funds for treatment. Gateway of Hope is raising funds to support sober living homes and a treatment facility in New London. Esther House, Butterfly House, Mary and Martha Center and SCCM all support people affected by substance use.

Person-First Language: There is a strong negative stigma around substance use. The language we often use (addict, drug abuse, etc.) blames the individual, but broad scientific consensus says that substance use is a biological illness. When we use blame- and shame-based language, we marginalize the people in need of the resources our community has to offer. Train yourself to use person-first language (substance use disorder, etc.). Small gestures of non-judgment can make a difference and open avenues for recovery.

Grace Place uses the motto, “More Grace…Less Judgment.” If our community, at the very least, acted with more grace and less judgment, it would make a huge difference.

I encourage you to get involved for the sake of the lives being lost in our county.

Matt Drumheller
First Presbyterian Church,