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Roz Picardo – Loving Our Communities: A Heroin Epidemic Prayer Vigil

Wesleyan Accent will run several articles and essays on Wesleyan Methodist responses to the surging drug use in North America. Drug overdose deaths now outnumber gunshot wound deaths and motor vehicles crashes, and news coverage increasingly reveals headlines like  120 Deaths a Day: US Heroin and Prescription Drugs Epidemic Spinning Out of Control or this coverage of clergy, physicians, law enforcement officers and recovering addicts networking together.

Last fall Rev. Roz Picardo organized a prayer vigil at his Dayton, Ohio church, in response to the overwhelming increase in heroin use in Ohio. We’re pleased to be able to share his description of the event and to encourage church leaders to look for creative ways to reach into our communities.

Heroin is an epidemic spreading like wildfire throughout our country. Last month alone, there were over 200 heroin deaths in Montgomery County. The Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team reports that in Ohio there has been a 366% increase in drug overdose deaths from 2000 to 2012, and authorities say they don’t see that number slowing down. This is a disease that is plaguing cities across the United States. It doesn’t discriminate and has become a killer of all ages.

The Point: A Ginghamsburg Church Community decided to take action to reclaim the brokenness in our streets by having a prayer vigil this past fall. Two news stations were present because they were intrigued by how our faith community was responding. Testimonies were shared of life transformation by folks in recovery who moved from a life of brokenness to blessing. The evening culminated with the group going outside in the parking lot, clasping hands, sharing names of lives personally affected by heroin, and praying in unison the Lord’s Prayer.

We can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. Our solution is simple. We don’t want to be silent. We want to pray for our community and be the answer even to our own prayers by raising awareness of what is going on in our city. This includes partnering with recovery programs, starting recovery houses, and working with those who desire a life change. Addiction, death, and destruction do not have to have the final word!

To see a video of prayer in the parking lot, visit The Point Facebook page here.