Photo of Norman Carter by Kevin Cameron

Story by Tamaria L. Kulemeka

Norman Carter, a member of Allegheny West Conference’s Temple Emmanuel in Youngstown, Ohio, is also on the frontlines of the drug crisis. 

“[The opioid crisis] is a beast that’s been unleashed. … In order to stop it, you have to stop drugs, and we know that is not going to happen. I think that all we can do is be prepared to provide services to those in need,” says Carter, who kicked his crack cocaine habit nearly eight years ago, and three years ago founded the Carter House, a transitional residential program in Youngstown. 

Photo of Darcel Harris by Kelly Butler Coe

Story by Tamaria L. Kulemeka

Darcel Harris is thankful for the success her 12-step group, patterned after the Regeneration model, has experienced for nearly three decades. Harris, a middle school Language Arts teacher, psychology professor and author in Westminster, Md., says the group grew out of Chesapeake Conference’s Westminster (Md.) church, where she is a member. Today they meet every Friday night and during a branch Sabbath School service called True Vine. They also operate a non-profit called Grow, which enables them to provide resources and minister to the needs of homeless people, drug addicts and the less fortunate in the community.

Photo of James Jackson by Darrell Bullock

Story by Tamaria L. Kulemeka

“[The church] is supposed to be a hospital, but we’re not all ready to address the sick,” says James Jackson, AEC’s coordinator for Adventist Recovery Ministry (ARMin), and a member of the Mount Olivet church in Camden, N.J., who spent 20 years under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. After being “restored to sanity” and getting clean, he worked as a counselor and retired as a clinical supervisor for an agency that provided mental health and substance abuse services in the city. 

Bonnie Franckowiak, professor and coordinator of the Master of Science Nursing Program at Washington Adventist University, says recognizing substance abuse varies from age group to age group. For example, adolescents showing changes in mood or failing grades could be signs of drug use. In more advanced age groups, needle marks could be a clue that someone is using. She says the biggest determinant is recognizing a person ceasing to function as he or she once did, not to mention their finances vanishing for no visible reason.


Photo by Bonnie Franckowiak by Tijuana Griffin

Opiates, naturally occurring alkaloids, are found in opium poppy plants, and relieve pain symptoms. Drugs in this family include heroin, opium, morphine and codeine, reports

The American Society of Addiction Medicine classifies opioids, which are at least partially synthetically produced, in two categories: illicit, which is where heroin falls; and licit, which are prescription pain relievers that include oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine and fentanyl.

 These drugs are chemically related and interact with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the brain and nervous system to produce pleasurable effects and relieve pain.

Story by Anna Bartlett

Members of Ohio Conference’s Elyria church run several programs to build community with those in need of healing.

“In the entire community of Elyria and Lorain... there is a very strong drug epidemic and [high risk of] overdose in these cities,” shares Marius Marton (pictured below), Elyria church pastor.

In response to this members of the Elyria church, some who are themselves recovered or in recovery from addiction, run a long-standing women's ministry and a brand-new men's ministry to build community with those in need.

Story by Tamaria L. Kulemeka

The opioid and heroin epidemic is crippling communities across the nation, leaving health officials and providers, coroners, law enforcement and churches scrambling to respond to and combat this widespread crisis.

Bonnie Franckowiak, professor and coordinator of the Master of Science Nursing Program at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md., says, “The use of opioids in this country is staggering. It’s huge, and it’s growing all the time; we don’t seem to have a handle on it at all,” she says. “In 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids, which is enough to give every American adult their own pill box.”

Kettering Adventist HealthCare logo

Story by Elizabeth Long

Terry Burns has been named president of Kettering Medical Center and Executive Vice president of Kettering Adventist HealthCare effective November 1, 2017. He replaces Jarrod McNaughton, who has stepped down for personal reasons.

Burns has held executive roles in the Network since 2001, most recently as the chief financial officer of Kettering Medical Center and executive vice president of Kettering Adventist HealthCare, since November, 2015.