evolved into a matrix of constant blame, and just as the source of the opioids themselves is difficult to pinpoint, so too are the factors that surround the downward spiral of addiction. The war on the opioid epidemic has only begun, and officials predict that statistics will get worse before they get better. Overcoming contro- versy and stigma will be key for organizations, communities, and families to work together and combat the crisis. We must from our pulpits and programs deal frankly, honestly, and continually with this issue, calling out the abuse both on the prescription side and user side as dangerous and immoral. —Pastor Dave Watson, Relevant Magazine T here is hope that the United States and Canada are making strides and reversing the rising numbers of opioid addictions and deaths. “It is difficult to project the next 10 years of drug overdoses, especially with the fed- eral, state, and local response to reducing the opioid overdose epidemic,” says Courtney Lenard of the CDC. “We are currently seeing an increase in opioid overdoses.” Despite the still bleak numbers, some communi- ties are succeeding. In Florida, increased regula- tions on prescriptions contributed to a reduction of overdose deaths by 50 percent in 2012. New York, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio have all seen a drop in opioid prescriptions in recent months. In Oregon, authorities are seeing success due in part to educating and training community members and health care professionals on safely administering and monitoring prescriptions. While the way forward certainly requires a joint effort across agencies and state lines, among local and national offices, and with both law enforcement and health agencies, in some ways, rescue missions and Christian recovery clinics may have to carry a larger burden. “Saving the addicted from certain personal destruction is not the profes- sional’s job, but the Church’s job,” says Relevant magazine author Ashley Abramson. At Crossroads Mission in Yuma, Arizona, the New Life Program emphasizes family reunification: Family members participate in the recovery process, and anyone who is in need receives spiritual counseling. While secular recovery efforts may include detox programs in isolation, away from drug sources, or codependent relationships, Christian organizations are helping addicts to confront their demons and embrace daily life, exchanging their chemical dependency for reliance on their Savior. The fight against addiction is an uphill battle, a charge that—while it includes health care professionals, big pharma, government, and families—succeeds only on the spiritual realm. The opioid epidemic does not discriminate; thankfully, neither does Jesus. Ĩ COVER FOCUS 16 WWW.AGRM.ORG JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 Helen lives in Loveland, Colorado, and has been a writer, editor, and online content developer for more than 20 years. She is a part of the Langham Partnership USA communications team, and works as a consultant on communications for non- profits and ministries with Cedarstone Partners. She can be reached at htgoody@gmail.com.