When fewer people turn to churches and religious groups for community, they miss out on a wide variety of faith-based opportunities to receive help for substance abuse problems. The rise of the Nones is especially concerning, Grim says, because it’s concentrated among Millennials and young adults, the same age group that’s most likely to have a substance abuse disorder. “In a sense,” he says, “the antidote is being rejected by the very people who need it most.” An estimated one in every six young adults (ages 18 to 25) struggles with substance abuse.
Faith communities, the study finds, are “uniquely effective in mobilizing crisis response,” “offer ongoing emotional and social support,” and are “significantly beneficial to long-term recovery.” If fewer congregations and religious-based groups are available or able to provide much-needed recovery resources, America’s health-care system and private counseling networks will have to assume more of the load.
Faith Counts uses social media to spread the word about how faith “inspires, empowers, motivates, and comforts.” Its “Faces of Faith” series profiles believers of a variety of religions. The first study by the Grims for Faith Counts, titled “The Socio-economic Contributions of Religion to American Society: An Empirical Analysis,” was published in a 2016 issue of the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion.
National Recovery Month, now in its 30th year, is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The annual observance “promotes the message that recovery in all of its forms is possible and encourages citizens to take action to help expand and improve the availability of effective prevention, treatment, and recovery services for those in need.” This year’s theme is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Together We Are Stronger.” An online toolkit is available for organizations that want to increase awareness about overcoming alcohol and drug dependence.