SJA Opioid Crisis Symposium

Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Church hosted its first Opioid Crisis Symposium in response to our country’s opioid addiction epidemic on April 4th & 5th. This two day symposium hosted a panel of experts in different related fields that addressed the prescription drugs addiction problems and solutions to all interested in the community. This was a non-faith-based symposium and was open to participants of all age in the entire community.

On day one we addressed The Problem with Dr. Ahmed Howeedy, MD, who explained the medical and neurological aspects of opioid addiction. Dr. Beau Nelson, DBH, LCSW covered the emotional and psychological factors of addiction. Law enforcement first responder Bob Lemon & Fire Department Officer Bart L. Galletta talked about the overdose scenarios they deal with and direction on what to do in those situations. And the Chief Assistant State Attorney Alan S. Johnson, leader of the State Attorney’s Sober Homes Task Force, explained in detail the heroin epidemic and rogue actors in the industry who engage in fraud and abuse as well as addressing the efforts to make Florida’s laws more effective in confronting these problems.

On day two the experts talked about the “Solutions and Help for Family Members.” Dr. Beau Nelson, DBH, LCSW spoke on the solutions, recovery, brain healing, nutrition and more. Dr. Rotondo addressed solutions for emotional and psychological recovery. We also had three recovered addicts and councilors in different areas: Harvey B. speaking on the family in recovery, John Giodonald explaining the importance of nutrition in the recovery process, and Laura K. who went over the recovering addict process and how the family is affected. We closed with Pastor Dennis W. Glick, with the Church and the Clergy response to this epidemic, creating community awareness in addressing this epidemic and encouraging involvement to work on this crisis.

Special thanks to Msgr. Michael D. McGraw and to SJA’s Director of Parish Ministries and Activities, Andrea Lewin.

 “It is so important as a community and as a parish that we attend to this opioid drug crisis from within the context of education, family and of our faith.  We all need further education concerning the way these drugs affect us and how they are obtained. We also need to do everything we can to combat their entrance into our families and particularly to protect our elderly and our youth. Finally we know that without God’s help and guidance, we will lack the divine wisdom we need to attend to the spiritual dimension of this crisis. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we must care for our souls and for our spiritual welfare in what is truly a combat with evil.”
– Msgr. Michael D. McGraw