UP Catholic 05 05 2017 E Edition Page 11

Last month, the leaders of four Upper Peninsula faith communities released an Ecumenical Statement on Addic- tions. The statement notes the de- struction caused by addiction in our communities, parishes and families and pledges to work together to bring awareness, resources and healing for those suffering the effects of additions and substance abuse. It further states that (p)eople of faith are called to pro- vide healing not only for the soul, but also the body of our neighbors in need. Those signing the statement are, Bishop Rayford J. Ray of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan; Rev. Thomas Skrenes, Bishop of the North- ern Great Lakes Synod of the Evangel- ical Lutheran Church in America; The Rev. Elbert P. Dulworth, District Su- perintendent of the Marquette District of the United Methodist Church; and Most Rev. John Doerfler, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Marquette. As referenced in the statement, ex- cessive alcohol use, nationally, remains a factor in 50 percent of all deaths from traumatic injuries. Substance abuse disorders are also intertwined with other psychiatric problems and con- sidered a contributing factor in 40-60 percent of all suicides. At the local level, substance abuse disorders have im- pacted our communities by increasing crime, unemployment, homelessness, and health care costs. Substance abuse and addiction impacts all of us. In spite of the best efforts to thwart illicit drugs or attempt to punish those who engage in their use, illegal drug abuse remains a deeply ingrained aspect of life in our Upper Peninsula community. Substance abuse is intertwined with social problems that face our communities. During the news conference, Bishop Skrenes shared a story of a relative who died of a her- oin overdose and how he brought that to the other ecumenical church leaders. We talked about our own personal experiences with peo- ple in our own churches and our own families who have had struggles with addictions of all types. We began to think about and pray about and reflect on how the Christian faith commu- nities could make a difference in this work. The statement also points out, Substance abuse disorders present the same clinical picture as other chronic, relapsing disorders similar to diabetes or multiple sclerosis. Much like the results of medical treatments for diseases such as heart disease or cancer, treatment for substance abuse disorders is not universally effective; however, early detection and long term treatment can improve the rate of successful recovery. The Rev. Kristi Hintz, who represented The Rev. Dulworth during the news conference added, We understand that addressing this problem of addiction in our communities, we have to deal with the whole person. Its not surprising that we get overwhelmed, that any effective treatment plan has to care for the whole person and we have to provide com- prehensive support for physical and spiritual and emotional facets of those caught up in the addiction cycle. Addiction professionals and persons in recovery treatment know that hope can be found through the grace and strength of God, according to the statement. The faith commu- nities also offer to serve as the outstretched hand to offer God's love and new hope for those licted with this disease.During the news conference, Bishop John Doerfler noted that the faith communities in the U.P. have agencies in place that are already operating to address these needs and hopes the ecumenical statement will bring about great awareness of the needs and the resources. He further stated that licensed counselors who help those strug- gling with additions in the recovery journey have locations across the U.P., including at Lutheran Social Services and Catholic Social Services, which help people regardless of their faith or income. (www.lsswis.org and www. cssup.org). To read the complete statement, visit http:// dioceseofmarquette.org/newsreleases/223 www.upcatholic.org THE U.P. CATHOLIC HEALTHWISE May 5, 2017 11 906-789-9490 bachmobilities@outlook.com Accessibility Equipment for Homes, Parishes, Schools and Vehicles! Van Lifts, Wheelchair Lifters, Hand Controls, Elevators, Stair Climbers, Ceiling Lifts and More! Upper Peninsula faith leaders release Ecumenical Statement on addictions JAMIE GUALDONI THE U.P. CATHOLIC Bishop John Doerfler speaks with media during a recent news conference, releasing an Ecumenical Statement on Addictions, with three other leaders of Upper Peninsula faith communities.

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