Women’s Interfaith Dialogue of Oak Ridge will learn more about the opiod crisis afflicting the nation and its communities during a meeting on Monday, April 1.
The meeting is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. Monday, April 1, at the Jewish Congregation of Oak Ridge, which is at 101 West Madison Lane.
Reverend Bea Thomas, an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Zion Church, will speak on “The Impact of the Opiod Epidemic upon Our Youth and How We Can Protect Them,” a press release said.
Thomas has served as pastor of four churches in the Tennessee Conference of the A.M.E. Zion Church. Since 2016, she has been involved in correctional ministry, first at the Anderson County Jail and currently at Roane County Jail, the press release said. She holds a M.A. in Evangelism and Church Planting from Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia, and is currently completing courses toward a Chaplaincy Certificate in Correctional Ministry through the Institute of Prison Ministry at Christian University GlobalNet.
The timeliness of the presentation is evidenced in a study of opioid deaths from 1999 to 2016, which found opioid mortality “skyrocketing,” the press release said. Using data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics and the U.S. census, Mathew Kiang, a postdoctoral research fellow at Stanford University’s Center for Population Health Sciences, identified 351,630 opioid-related deaths between 1999 and 2016. In that 18-year period, deaths from opioids increased by 455 percent, the press release said. Men, on average, died at age 39.8 and women at age 43.5.
Identifying multiple factors underlying the crisis, Kiang issues the challenge: “We need to make treatment at least as accessible, available, and affordable as heroin. It shouldn’t be harder to get help than it is to get heroin.”
Speaking to the crisis from the perspective of prevention, Thomas will challenge faith communities to meet the crisis as they step up to protect vulnerable youth, the press release said.
Celebrating 10 years since its founding, Women’s Interfaith Dialogue Group brings together women of diverse faith, color, and culture to explore, understand, and learn from one another for the purpose of advancing justice, compassion, friendship, and human rights with a focus on women and children. All are welcome, the press release said.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
This press release was submitted by Women’s Interfaith Dialogue.
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