It takes a village to help people get through addiction and into recovery, and the religious community plays a vital role. Faith-based leaders are receiving training today on how to best help addicts.
As News 13s Dominic Barone tells us they're learning what works and what doesn't.
The church has a special relationship with the community, and they're looking to maximize on that opportunity. Churches often have a direct, and unique connection to those affected by addiction, because it's more than a physical or mental problem.
"It's a spiritual problem along with the rest of the person. So faith communities can help with the spiritual and the hope. And helping people reconnect with their community in a healthy way." said Gregory Krausz.
Krausz spent time talking to counselors, priests, non-profit workers, and more about how the church is a great place to help those through addiction. He said we need to reinvent how we approach drugs and alcohol because what we've been doing, such as the D.A.R.E. program, has not worked. We can't tell kids to "just say no" because only ten percent listen. We need to teach the consequences.
"To help people understand how their choices impact their values in the rest of their life. And impacts them now, then say we don't want to talk about it. Don't do it." Krausz saiud.
The person delivering these warnings to children is also important - talking to the youth about drugs before they even start.
"Best thing I heard today is peer to peer is the best way. So I'm going to reinvent my teaching curriculum, at least next school year, that I will have some peer to peer people involved." said Barry Heckman.
Heckman goes into schools and teaches preventative measures for the PA Drug and Alcohol Education Foundation, and he learned a lot of new techniques he can use such as having younger people spread the message with him. As someone who believes in community healing, Heckman is encouraging all Christians to be active in the church the other six days of the week.
"It's not just Sunday mornings that we do this." Heckman said, "This is every day of our lives where we work, where we go to school. Where our kids play soccer. Whatever we're into. It's what we're doing for Christ is what matters."
The overarching point today is the community coming together and taking a grass-roots approach. There's only so much our government can do, and the people need to bridge the gap.