NEWARK, N.J. (PIX11) — The Archdiocese of Newark has partnered up to help those struggling with addiction in their parishes as those times may be the darkest, a time when many turn to faith.
“People living with addiction, or their families, their caregivers, often one of the first places they go to are their parishes,” said Rev. Timothy Graff of the Archdiocese of Newark.
In a new partnership, the Archdiocese of Newark will begin an addiction treatment referral program, where those suffering can come to their church to seek help, the same place they, perhaps, prayed for help.
“It’s there they find a sense of hope; it’s there they find a sense of help,” said Graff.
In the program, priests at more than 200 parishes in the archdiocese will be able to refer those seeking treatment to the appropriate services within 48 hours. In addition, the Archdiocese and Cardinal Joseph Tobin are partnering with New Jersey Reentry Corporation, a nonprofit that serves citizens returning from incarceration.
“We work with veterans coming home from war; we work with people coming back from addiction,” said James E. McGreevey, the corporation’s Chairman and Executive Director and former Governor of New Jersey. “3,000 people a year die in the state of New Jersey, and governor murphy has made great efforts to try to reduce the number of deaths, Narcan is available, but still, it’s a plague.”
The Corporation will train people throughout the Archdiocese and collaborate with them to identify people in parishes that need drug treatment.
“Connect that family immediately to services so that person has a lifeline to god willing save their life,” said McGreevey.
Faith leaders say there is hope, no matter how much addiction has shaken their faith.
“They lose a sense of hope. ‘God doesn’t love me, God doesn’t know me, God doesn’t care about me,'” said Graff. “Our hope in this program, in this partnership with New Jersey Reentry, is that people find that sense of hope within their disease, within their family, because they turn to the church, and the church is there for them.”
The archdiocese said the program will go into effect on July first.