A Carmel church has a new initiative to combat the opioid crisis.
The support group, Parents of Addicted Loved Ones, aims to empower people by teaching the dangers of substance abuse and erasing the stigma around addiction.
Rev. Jerry Zehr says he and Rev. Andrea Boutselis partnered with nonprofit Overdose Lifeline to form the confidential support group.
“It’s giving an opportunity for parents to talk with other people who are going through some of the similar issues and to realize that they’re not alone on this,” he says.
Volunteers from Overdose Lifeline will lead both educational and emotional support sessions. Zehr says his parish, Carmel Christian Church, is the first PAL group in Hamilton County and others are considering similar programs. He says the opioid crisis is everyone’s issue.
“I mean this is an epidemic that crosses all races, economic lines, and so it’s time people are speaking up and trying to raise the consciousness in educating our people,” he says.
The church’s weekly PAL meetings are open to anyone 18 and older.