The Prevention Department is pleased to report that we have accomplished our goal of establishing an ongoing conversation regarding bridging the divide between faith and substance abuse prevention.

How did we do this?

This was accomplished through the development and initiation of a second webinar on September 26, 2013 that strived to continue the discussion. Having already established an introduction to the topic in the first webinar, attendees seemed more comfortable engaging in the topic, asking questions and offering potential solutions on how to bridge the divide.

Continuing this conversation signified one main goal for the second webinar. We wanted to identify the roles of faith leaders and how those roles align with the main goals of a prevention program. In order to help explain how this could happen, we found a guest speaker who was currently utilizing his background in both faith and prevention to secure a prominent step towards bridging the divide. The topic in question was, “Who is Bridging Faith and Prevention?” Addressing this question was guest speaker Mr. Drew Brooks, Executive Director at Faith Partners, Inc.

Drew has worked in prevention, treatment and public health for over thirty years, including work with the Hazelden Foundation and Johnson Institute, providing training and technical assistance with faith communities, schools and community organizations in over 40 states. He has worked as a prevention specialist implementing DHS, SIG, and OJJDP grant developmental asset-building and environmental prevention strategies to address underage drinking and marijuana use. In addition, he has co-authored four curricula on stress management strategies, raising resilient children, group facilitation skills, and congregational addiction team ministry.

The role of a faith leader is very critical to the strength of their congregation, actively working to prevent substance use and abuse. In this role, there are five primary goals that a faith leader aims to achieve.

  1. Gaining an understanding of the protective factors working in the following three aspects; within the individual, the family system and the environment.
  2. Establishing and maintaining open communication with all of the members in the congregation.
  3. Taking action and addressing the topic of substance abuse and how it can be prevented.
  4. Becoming familiar with the resources that are available to help support the efforts of preventing and treating substance abuse problems.
  5. Promoting and implementing effective prevention strategies that will lead their congregation to sustainable change.

The fourth and final webinar in this series will take place on November 21, at 11:00am (PST), addressing the question “How do you Bridge the Divide between Faith & Prevention?”.


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Angela Da Re at