Transforming the Overdose Crisis: Creating Communities and Congregations of Care

Reverend Elyse Berry, Erica Poellot, Marilyn Reyes, and Jose Martinez


We are in the midst of an overdose crisis. In one day alone in the US, we are losing an average of 192 beloved, made in the image of all that is good and love, siblings, parents, children, lovers and friends. Over 100,000 wonderfully and fearfully made human beings died in 2020 from an accidental drug overdose.


We are in the midst of an overdose crisis, but first and foremost, we are in the midst of a spiritual crisis and a moral crisis. We are in a crisis, which fails to recognize the full humanity of our beloved who use drugs, which condemns people who carry their burdens and their joys in ways beyond our ability to understand. Most significantly, we are in a crisis, which fails to recognize God in black and brown people, which wields racist drug policy to decimate Black families, and which fails to recognize the overdose crisis has long been devastating these communities. This crisis is also an opportunity. Join Overdose and Drug Use Ministries as we share our newly released toolkit for transforming the overdose crisis through the creation of congregations and communities of care.


We will explore toolkit components, including: Setting the Table - Why We are Here, Seeking Understanding - Framing the Issues, Blessing the Work - Spiritual and Ritual Resources, Listening and Learning - Voices from the Frontlines, and Responding in Action. Participants will receive a copy of the toolkit, experience ritual and liturgical offerings from the toolkit, strategies for implementing the toolkit in their own communities, and information on how/where to obtain an overdose prevention kit including the opioid overdose reversal drug - naloxone, fentanyl test strips, and other life-saving, life-affirming harm reduction and spiritual care tools.


Most importantly, participants will leave knowing they have the skills to prevent an overdose death, contribute to the healing movement to end the crisis of preventable overdose deaths, and have a voice in the movement for dignity and justice, with people who use drugs.

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  Transforming the Overdose Crisis: Creating Communities and Congregations of Care
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