Faith used to fight opioid addiction

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – With the number of overdose deaths only continuing to get worse, we thought we’d look at a supplemental approach to recovery that addicts may want to consider.

Faith can be a powerful antidote to addiction. Catholic Charities’ Evergreen House is a residential halfway house for women.

“It’s about having a healthy sense of self. It’s about loving you. It’s about filling that void,” counselor Tracie Bauer said.

Low-income women get free treatment for three to six months. Faith isn’t pushed at this Dauphin County home, but you see evidence of it.

Crystal Roark’s addiction began with a prescription for Vicodin. She got hooked, and when she couldn’t get more, she turned to heroin. She never thought turning to God would help save her life.

“Oh, it’s wonderful,” she said. I feel open to people. It’s just a wonderful feeling. It’s a safe place and you’re at peace.”

A study by Dr. Eric Kocian of Saint Vincent College shows that among addicts who spoke with a priest, minister or rabbi, 75 percent said doing so was an effective component of their recovery process.

“The drug was their higher power, and so they have to learn that there is something greater than themselves out there,” Bauer said.

Robert J. O’Hara Jr, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, wrote that while some people may be tempted to see addiction as a moral failing, we must respond to the opioid epidemic as a public health crisis and treat drug abuse as a disease, not a sin.

If you or a loved one needs help recovering from addiction, this phone number is a good one to call: 1-800-622-help (4357). It’s a hotline that’s staffed by trained professionals 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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