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Substance abuse training offered for faith-based community

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

Many members of the faith-based community would like to address substance use and abuse issues within their congregations, but feel they lack the skills or tools to do so.

Pulaski Community Partners Coalition is seeking to change that by sponsoring a two-part regional training seminar in Fairlawn entitled, “Understanding the Impact of Addiction and Supporting Recovery: Strategies and Tools for Faith Communities.”

According to Lee Spiegel, PCPC coordinator, only about 27 percent of faith communities address substance abuse and use issues within their congregations. She’s hoping the seminars will provide the regional faith community the tools needed to combat substance abuse issues from the faith side of the spectrum.

“This training is geared to anyone active in a faith community in our area,” Spiegel said. “Local pastors, ministers and lay persons have expressed to PCPC a need for training in recognizing and helping members affected by substance abuse.

“Most faith leaders received little or no training in dealing with substance abuse issues in their congregations. We are offering this training to help address those needs, as well as help establish a network of contacts and services that can be a resource to faith community members,” she added.

The training sessions will be held at New River Valley Business Center, 6580 Valley Center Drive, off Viscoe Road in the Fairlawn community. Instructors are American Association of Pastoral Councselors Executive Director Douglas M. Ronsheim, D.Min, and Steve Hornberger, MSW, o LTG Associates Inc.

The first session in the series, to be held Tuesday, Jan. 29, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., will address topics such as: Why the faith community; impact on the family; In your faith traditions; congregational teams education; resources and intervention, and action steps at individual, congregation and community levels.

The second session will be held Tuesday, Feb. 26, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will review questions that arising as a result of the first session, in addition to reports from congregations on their work; what additional information or tools are needed; addressing the need for a substance abuse crisis team; identifying gaps in services, and creating a community and regional network of faith based services.

The training sessions are free, but registration is required by Jan. 18. Register at www.signupgenius.com/go/30E0F4FA4A62DA02-understanding. Participants are urged to invite at least two people from their congregation to register as well.

Sponsoring the seminar along with PCPC is Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Lunch will be provided.