Other ways to search: Events Calendar | UTHSC

Religious Groups Help Transform Addiction from Moral Failure to Treatable Disease


NASHVILLE — Religious groups across the USA have long helped recovering addicts through 12-step programs and nonprofits that hire recovering addicts.

But now, many are turning their sights on the opioid crisis gripping the nation, and experts say they can do more to fight the epidemic.

Barriers to treatment particularly cause anxiety to people who have endured decades of civil war and turmoil in their home country, the separation of families, and the uncertainty of refugee camps and immigration. Many still are dealing with trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Studies show that traumatic events in children’s lives — including divorce, abuse and parents who use drugs — drive most compulsive-use disorders, said Dr. Daniel Sumrok, director of the Center for Addiction Science at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis.

Children need safe families, homes and communities, he said.

“As a person of faith, it’s very clear to me that failed love is how this happens. And as a person of science, I can tell you we call it trauma, but it’s the same thing,” said Sumrok, who recently spent five years as pastor of a small Southern Baptist church in McKenzie, Tenn.

Top Publishers