Mayor Johnson Stepping Up Outreach to Elk Grove Village’s Faith Community to Tackle Opioid Epidemic
Johnson attends Sunday services at local churches to talk about Elk Grove Village Cares and the “disease of addiction”.
To raise awareness of Elk Grove Village Cares, the Village’s comprehensive, community-based response to the national opioid epidemic, Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson has been taking a message of compassion, commitment and recovery to local churches and other houses of worship.
Over the past few weeks, Mayor Johnson has attended services at Prince of Peace United Methodist Church, Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit, and Shinnyo-En USA Temple, and will be attending Sunday services at several more area churches over the next month. The Mayor has asked faith leaders for just ten minutes of their time during Sunday services to talk about Elk Grove Village Cares. He said he plans to visit every faith community that will welcome him.
Elk Grove Village Cares is the Village’s comprehensive, community-based initiative to prevent heroin and opioid-related deaths and overdoses, get more addicts on the road to recovery, build a community of support for addicts and their loved ones and educate residents about devastating effects of opioid addiction.
“While we all may practice different religions or attend different houses of worship, the faith community in Elk Grove Village is strong. That’s why I wanted to step up our efforts to reach out directly to communities of faith to let them know what we’re doing to tackle the national epidemic of opioid addiction,” said Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson. “A community-wide problem demands a community-based solution and our communities of faith will help us make real progress.”
In his remarks to congregations, Mayor Johnson talks about how Elk Grove Village Cares came about, its mission and how individuals and institutions can support the effort. He will also discuss the “disease of addiction” in hopes of removing some of the stigma that is attached to opioid addiction.
“The medical community has concluded that addiction is not merely a lifestyle choice or the product of bad decisions by people. It’s a disease that does not discriminate between race, gender or socio-economic background,” said Mayor Johnson. “So, we should help those afflicted not by casting them and their loved ones aside, but by supporting them and making sure they’re getting all the care and support they need.”
Elk Grove Village Cares has enlisted the support and assistance from the Elk Grove Village Interfaith Council, which has made a commitment to provide support resources for family members of the addicted so they’re also getting the emotional and practical support they need so much during challenging times.
“We’re proud to be active contributors to the Village’s efforts to take this challenge on. One of our goals under Elk Grove Village Cares is to build a community of support that can give strength, guidance and encouragement to addicts in recovery and their loved ones,” said Michael Gates, Pastor of Living Hope Church and member of the Elk Grove Village Interfaith Council. “Often, we overlook the mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers of the afflicted. They wrestle with feelings of guilt, regret or sadness over what their loved one is enduring. So, they are deserving or our support and compassion.”