Opioid deaths are reaching epidemic proportions in Tennessee. This community empowerment conference will feature a panel of experts around the area of faith and addiction. Dr. Monty Burks, director of faith-based initiatives with the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, is the keynote speaker. Dr. Burks will share about his own personal journey to recovery as well as roll out a comprehensive plan for Shelby County churches and faith-based organizations to become part of the solution. Local fire and police directors will be honored for their work in responding to and halting the spread of illegal drug use.

“There is a good chance you have someone in your family or you know someone who struggles with opioid addiction,” said Jesse Johnson, No Whispers Program Director at Christ Church Memphis, the sponsor of the event. “Opioid addiction cuts across every class, race and stratum of American life. It has been called a plague on our culture.”

Attendees will meet pastors, community leaders and police from their own Memphis precinct and develop strategic partnerships to address the opioid crisis in their community. Participants will also receive resources and learn about successful recovery programs throughout the state.

The free event is open to clergy, churches, faith-based organizations, families, volunteers and leaders, regardless of their belief system or denomination. All who feel they will gain something helpful from the forum are welcome to attend.

“People recover from addictions every day. Families are rebuilt. Lives are restored. But recovery rarely happens in a vacuum,” Johnson said. “It takes a community willing to stand beside the person to support them and help lead them out of the darkness. After this forum, we want you to be empowered and equipped to be part of the solution.”

The conference is Thursday, May 10 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom at the University of Memphis (499 University Street, Memphis, TN 38152). The conference, lunch and parking are free, but please register.

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