14 Jul Church conference, Oklahoma agency partner for Opioid Outreach
The Oklahoma Conference of Churches and the state Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse have partnered to provide opioid addiction and substance abuse awareness to metro-area churches.
Micah James, the conference of churches’ liaison to the Opioid Outreach project, is spearheading the effort.
She said the statistics regarding opioids have been troubling for a while.
She said opioids are the most common class of drug involved in Oklahoma overdose deaths.
• In 2016, 54 percent of all overdose deaths in our state involved an opioid and between 1999 and 2016, more than 10,000 Oklahomans died from a drug overdose, she said. • More than 6,500 of those deaths involved an opioid (including prescription and illicit drugs). • In 2016, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription opioids and illegal opioids like heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl) was 5 times higher than in 1999. • On average, one Oklahoman dies every day from an opioid overdose.
James said the Rev. Shannon Fleck, the conference of churches’ executive director, recently spoke about the project at Coffee Creek Baptist Church in Edmond, and James said she herself is set to speak on the issue on Sunday at Mayflower Congregational Church-United Church of Christ.
The Rev. Lori Walke, Mayflower’s associate pastor and conference of churches’ board member, said the issue of substance abuse, particularly opioid addiction, is a timely topic to confront.
Walke said most Oklahomans are aware of how opioid addiction and abuse has rocked our communities, and Mayflower is no different.