And the problem is growing particularly acute in Appalachia. In Tennessee, for example, 80 percent of crimes are drug related.
On Friday and Saturday (May 18-19) a conference was held to address opioid addiction and brought clinicians, clergy and educators to the tip of southern Appalachia to begin a yearlong conversation on ways churches can help heal and support those caught in the epidemic’s grip.
Among its organizers is Dr. Raymond Barfield, a pediatric oncologist at Duke University who has a joint appointment at its divinity school. For five years he directed a program called “Theology, Medicine and Culture.” He now teaches courses on Christian philosophy and mentors students in the Medical Humanities Study Program.
This interview was edited for length and clarity.
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