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Officials hope to equip churches to battle heroin


By Scott Halasz

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XENIA — Some local religious leaders are trying to do their part to help battle the heroin epidemic.

Organized by Pastor Greg Delaney, First Church of Christ in Xenia will host Equipping the Church to Respond to the Heroin Epidemic, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9. The event will provide education and tools for faith leaders to combat the heroin problem that is plaguing the entire country.

Those in attendance will be able to draw information from an expert panel including Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer, Franklin County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Board Trustee Kim Kehl and a representative from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

“We’ve been trying to engage the church in this for a long time,” Delaney said, adding that the recent spike of overdoses made him and organizers try to expedite the process.

Delaney said there are currently four or five good efforts going on including Celebrate Recovery, the Champions Network and Safe Harbor in Clark County. But Delaney said he wanted a way to bring them all together and learn from each other.

Delaney wanted to do something more than just an awareness event and while it’s targeted at faith leaders and pastors, he said all are welcome.

“If there’s a way you can get involved, anybody can attend,” he said.

That’s part of the reason Fischer agreed to take part in the event.

“It affects everybody,” he said. “If I have the opportunity to stress community assistance, I will. We need help in enforcing it. We need help in treating people that are already hooked. It’s got to be a community effort.”

Anyone interested in attending should register on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/1738023233125657/ or at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/equipping-the-church-to-respond-to-the-heroin-epidemic-tickets-26921056605?aff=es2 in order for organizers to provide enough food.

The church is at 441 Ledbetter Road.

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.