Support: Ministerial Alliance puts faith into action

Members of the faith community in Belpre are doing their part to fight the drug epidemic sweeping our region, and the tactics they are using provide an important form of support to those on the front lines. When a representative of the Belpre Area Ministerial Alliance spoke to city council this week, he described a second-year program in which 12 local pastors and ministers provide chaplaincy programs for the Belpre Police Department.

This is no ceremonial role. The chaplains work on a rotating basis to offer support that can include going on ride-alongs with officers. Imagine the difference that must make for members of law enforcement who have seen their jobs take a very different kind of emotional toll in recent years.

Further, Belpre Area Ministries has approved a donation of $1,000 to begin a drug dog program; and is exploring ways to also fund ongoing costs for the animals. Such a program, should it come to fruition, would be yet another weapon in the fight against substance abuse.

Ohio is suffering. Along with the rest of our region, Buckeye State residents need all the help they can get in combating this poison. Earlier this week, the chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education recommended “recommending that all state-assisted institutions of higher education update the teacher preparation curriculum for all content areas and grade levels so that teachers graduating … have all the necessary information to educate students about the consequences of opiate and other substance abuse as well as the resources available to help fight the opiate epidemic.”

Drug abuse has become such a fact of life for us that it will become part of the curriculum for instructing new teachers.

Belpre’s pastors and ministers are not turning a blind eye to that fact, nor are they unwilling to put their faith into action when it comes to fighting the problem. Other community organizations should look for ways to do that kind of good.