Group Plans Ministry on Substance Abuse 'A Drug Problem Needs No Ethnic Qualification'

Article excerpt

An interfaith group is studying ways to establish a communitywide substance abuse ministry.

The group, named the Committed Caring Faith Communities, wants to develop a program that offers education, skills training, awareness and networking. For the past three months, the group has held four workshops designed to teach faith communities how to deal with issues of substance abuse.

The final workshop, "Sin and Addiction: the Difference," will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Jan. 23 at BJC Health Systems, 4353 Clayton Avenue. It will be headed by the Rev. Kenneth Robinson of the St. Andrew A.M.E. Church in Memphis, Tenn. On Jan. 9, about 25 members of faith communities attended a workshop at BJC Health Systems called "Substance Abuse and Treatment Modalities: Their Application in Substance Abuse Ministries." National experts Sylvia Dayton-Jones and the Rev. Christine Wiley, both of Washington, led the meeting. "This team of experts specializes in starting up drug and alcohol prevention ministries," said the Rev. C.V. Smith, chairman of Caring Faith Communities. "We are so diverse - black and white, Jew and Catholic - that we need models that are diverse." One person at the meeting criticized the experts for failing to present diverse models. "None of these models are white middle-class models," she said. Dayton-Jones replied: "A drug problem needs no ethnic qualification. A drug problem is a drug problem. …