A090 Allies for Recovery in the Episcopal Church
Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring,
That the 80th General Convention urge all dioceses and parishes in The Episcopal Church to include www.generalconvention.org/sites/opioid-task-force on websites and encourage training, advocacy, and pastoral care resources for individuals, families, and communities affected by opioid addiction; and be it further
Resolved, That dioceses and parishes designate persons within their region to be trained as Recovery Allies, encourage Naloxone training for members, and disseminate the SAMSHA Toolkit (available on website) to clergy and lay leaders; and be it further
Resolved, That the 80th General Convention direct the Office of Government Relations of The Episcopal Church to continue advocacy for the federal government of the United States to address this as public health crisis, affirming that opioid use disorder is a disease, which needs adequate resources for treatment options; and be it further
Resolved, That the Church recognize that issues of substance use disorders, access to diagnosis and effective treatment, and lack of appropriate treatment for untreated or undertreated pain affect all communities, and there is a disproportionate effect on persons of color, persons with disabilities, and those affected by poverty; and be it further
Resolved, That congregations be urged to pray weekly during the Prayers of the People for those affected by substance use disorders and their families; and be it further
Resolved, That the General Convention designate an existing office to oversee website management, partner with seminaries and other organizations for Recovery Ally training, and be it further
Resolved, That the General Convention request the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance to consider a budget allocation of $40,000 for implementation of this resolution.
The 2018-C037 Task Force on Responding to the Opioid Epidemic met over the course of 2.5 years to create resources, explore best ways for dioceses and parishes to respond pastorally and as advocates for recovery, and to conduct a survey of response needs throughout the church. Based on the survey, research, and meetings of the task force members, there is a need for useful science-based strategies for combating the disease of addiction in communities. As many survey respondents noted a need for resources and training to better support the recovery needs in their communities, the Task Force curated resources and encouraged those engaged in Ally Training opportunities. Seabury Seminary is offering an online Recovery Ally Training in the Spring of 2021, and the Task Force encourages similar offerings throughout the Church. Additionally, the Task Force encourages all congregations to include intercessions for those in recovery as a part of weekly worship to eliminate stigma and create safe space for families and individuals in recovery.
The following steps are recommended for continuing a robust response to the epidemic of opioid addiction:
(i) all diocesan and parish websites contain a link to the website created by the task force: www.generalconvention.org/sites/opioid-task-force ,
(ii) the management of the website and the administration of Recovery Ally Training be designated to existing offices or standing committees,
(iii) resources be allotted to the offices or standing committees designated with the task of maintaining the website and administering the training.
Much of the work of this Task Force was completed before the COVID-19 pandemic. The public health crisis has intensified the effects of opioid addiction and these recommendations are even more critical as communities face the trauma of loss and seek to care for our siblings in active addiction or in recovery.