Rural Faith Leaders Workshop Series: Empowering Faith Leaders to Help Persons with Substance Use Disorder

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has organized a series of four workshops for rural faith leaders to come together to discuss, learn, and share information and resources to help individuals with substance use disorder (SUD). Each workshop will have a specific focus to assist all houses of worship to position themselves to be both first responders and communities of hope and support for people and families struggling with addiction.

The main objectives of the workshop series include:

  • Increasing faith leaders’ understanding of substance use disorder (SUD) and how to connect faith to prevention, treatment, and recovery.
  • Building capacity of faith leaders to take action by providing information to prepare and ready leaders and their congregants to provide the support needed to assist individuals with substance use disorder.
  • Helping faith leaders to find their lane and empower faith communities to put initiatives in place to help in the area(s) where they can make the most difference.

Workshop Details

Workshop 2: Connecting Faith to Prevention
Thursday, May 13, 2021
Time: 10:00 a.m. Pacific, 11:00 a.m. Mountain, 12:00 p.m. Central, 1:00 p.m. Eastern
Duration: Approximately 90 minutes

This workshop will focus on:

  • Strategies to combat substance use in rural communities
  • Stopping drug use before it starts – evidence-based prevention strategies that work in rural communities
  • Understanding prevention and identifying the role of the faith community in substance use prevention
  • How to identify and connect the faith community to prevention activities in your backyard
  • How the faith community can partner to develop faith-based prevention strategies
  • Showcasing innovative faith-based prevention strategies in action

Featured Speakers

  • Kemp Chester, Assistant Director, National Opioids and Synthetics Coordination Group, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
  • John Gale, Senior Research Associate, Maine Rural Health Research Center, University of Southern Maine
  • Dr. Christopher Jones, Deputy Director, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Dr. Monty Burks, Director of Special Projects and Faith-Based Initiatives with the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
  • Pastor Greg Delaney, Faith Advocate, RecoveryOhio
  • Pastor Nathan Chrisman, Founder and Creator of GOODLIFE


This workshop is free. If you would like to attend the event, please RSVP to Betty-Ann Bryce by emailing your name, title, organization, state, county, and contact information to Registered participants will receive the details to join the webinar closer to the event date.

A recording and transcript of the workshop will be available on the Rural Community Toolbox website after the event.

Future Workshops in This Series

  • Workshop 3: Understanding Treatment and Connecting Faith to Treatment
  • Workshop 4: Supporting Recovery and Connecting Faith to Recovery

Past Workshops

  • Workshop 1: Substance Use Disorder and the Pandemic in Rural Communities
    Date: Tuesday, December 8, 2020
    Offers a video recording, transcript, and slides of a workshop discussion describing the intersecting opioid epidemic and COVID-19 pandemic in rural areas. Includes discussion on finding and using data to describe substance use issues in your community and highlights the economic impacts of substance use in rural communities during the pandemic. Provides details and resources to help rural congregations and faith leaders prepare and provide support to individuals with SUD and families affected by substance use.

Rural Community Toolbox Rural Faith Leaders Starting Points

The Rural Community Toolbox provides details on federal funding opportunities and other resources rural communities of faith and faith leaders can use to support prevention, treatment, and recovery services for individuals with SUD. The opportunities and resources below are specific to faith-based organizations but there are more expert help and training resources and information resources searchable by type and topic to help address SUD.

Added: 11/16/2020