30 ways churches can fight opioid addiction

August 2, 2019

This list is not complete. We invite you to share other ways United Methodists can join in the fight against opioid addiction.

Holston Conference churches and groups are eligible to apply for grants to support new or existing ministries addressing the opioid crisis. The grants will be supplied by the Holston Annual Conference missions offering collected in June 2019.

See also: Opioid crisis: Plenty of work to go around for churches


1. Recruit and equip foster parents to care for children removed from homes.

2. Support foster-care families with meals, transportation, support groups, respite, prayer.

3. Support grandparents raising children of addicted parents with child care, outings, meals, prayer.

4. Provide emergency needs (clothing, toiletries, toys) for families served through the social services department.

5. Offer community meals, food pantries, or deliver food bags door-to-door in high-risk communities.

6. Begin or participate in after-school tutoring programs at schools or ministries such as Wesley House Community Center in Knoxville or Bethlehem Center in Chattanooga.

7. Volunteer at the hospital’s newborn intensive care unit to cuddle babies born dependent on opioids.

8. Help families visit incarcerated loved ones by providing transportation or video access.

9. Distribute flyers or cards with contact info for 12-step meetings; family support groups; police department tip lines; child abuse and neglect tip lines; state hotlines, etc.

10. Advocate for a “drug court” or “recovery court” in your community as a healing alternative to incarceration.

11. Assist your local drug court by checking on individuals; providing child care while a parent is in group sessions; providing transportation to and from sessions.

12. Offer opportunities for drug court participants to perform weekly community service hours.

13. Assist local recovery ministries (such as Celebrate Recovery or 12-step meetings) with food or child care.

14. Mentor children or youth through recovery ministries or organizations such as Emerald Youth Foundation in Knoxville or Big Brothers Big Sisters.

15. Volunteer your church van and drivers to transport participants to recovery worship or support groups.

16. Host fundraising events or activities to support recovery or family-support ministries.

17. Work with social services departments to offer your church (at no charge) as family training space or for supervised visits between parents and children.

18. Host Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous groups at various times of the day.

19. Provide grocery gift cards, housing or furniture assistance for individuals or families served by recovery ministries, treatment centers, or social services departments.

20. Organize coaching or support groups for parents of children with addictions.

21. Offer “life skills” classes for recovering individuals such as cooking, budgeting, parenting, job skills, computer skills.

22. Host “sober living” social activities for support groups, such as yoga, game night, sports outings.

23. Help recovering individuals obtain identifications or birth certificates.

24. Offer post-incarceration services such as computer and internet access, job assistance, transportation, training.

25. Pray for and reach out to first responders.

26. Provide education to reduce stigma associated with addiction.

27. Organize training for church members to recognize overdose symptoms and administer nalaxone (medication to counter overdose).

28. Organize a “syringe exchange."

29. Sponsor a prescription drug take-back event (to properly dispose of medications) in cooperation with the sheriff’s office.

30. Provide administrative, landscaping or facility maintenance to Susannah’s House in Knoxville or other addiction-related nonprofits.

31. Show hospitality to grieving families by hosting and assisting with funerals.

32. Create or join community coalitions to work together across many sectors to fight addiction.


See also:

Opioid crisis: Plenty of work to go around for churches (The Call, 8.2.19)

Recovery ministries in Holston (The Call, 8.2.19)

Series: The Church responds to the Opioid Crisis (UMNS, 2019)