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Social Justice Team

Taking direction from a congregational listening process, the Social Justice Team is focused on helping our community learn more about opioid addiction and assisting those who have been impacted by Ohio’s opioid epidemic. 

Guest Speakers Series

The Educational Speaker Series bring community leaders who are addressing the opioid epidemic in Columbus to share their stories with our congregation during Shabbat services.  We strive to pair this learning with concrete action steps.  More information will be coming soon about opportunities for congregants to get involved in ongoing Tikkun Olam efforts connected to the opioid epidemic.

Friday, April 12 - 6:00 PM at the JCC

Sarah Thompson

Executive Director of Ohio Citizen Advocates for Addiction Recovery (ACAAR)

“Community Support for Addiction Recovery”

Sarah has been Executive Director of ACAAR since 2015.  She began her journey advocating for addiction recovery with the Ohio Physicians Health Program, where she was able to see firsthand the impact advocacy has on individuals, families and communities throughout the state of Ohio.  Ms. Thompson has her own personal experience with recovery, and she is a young thought leader dedicated to ensuring that all Ohioans have the resources and opportunities necessary to enter and sustain long-term recovery.  Sarah studied Public Affairs at The Ohio State University with a specialty in Non-Profit Management.


Friday, May 24 - 6:00 PM at the JCC

Dan Skinner

Assistant Professor at Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine

“Not Far From Me: Stories of Opioids and Ohio”

Dan is an assistant professor at Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he teaches courses on health care reform, health policy, and health care management.  He is co-editor of the forthcoming book, Not Far From Me: Stories of Opioids and Ohio (Ohio State University Press, 2019), which presents fifty gripping first-person accounts by Ohioans at the center of the national opioid epidemic.  Dr. Skinner earned a Ph.D. and M.A. in political science from the City University of New York.

Background Resources

Background and Resources

Background from the Franklin County Opioid Action Plan:

“The opiate epidemic is eroding the quality of life for Franklin County residents. This public health crisis is killing our residents and devastating families. It is impacting every sector of our economy, including healthcare, education, business and local governments.

“There are many social factors that increase a person’s risk of becoming addicted to a substance, including but not limited to poverty, homelessness, unemployment and trauma. However, there are three major factors that caused the opiate problem to shift to a crisis throughout our entire community. These are:

1. Misuse and Abuse of Prescription Drugs

2. Resurgence of Heroin

a. As prescription pain pills were getting more difficult to get with the crackdown on pill mills and overprescribing, people were turning to heroin which was cheaper and easier to get.

3. Introduction of Synthetic Opiates

a. Examples of synthetic opiates are fentanyl and carfentanil. Although heroin use and fentanyl are not new phenomena, the scale of the problem has increased dramatically, particularly due to the increasing prevalence of fentanyl in the U.S. and the Midwest specifically.

“Ohio has been especially hard hit by the epidemic. On average, eight people in Ohio die every day from an overdose. For the ninth year in a row, unintentional drug overdose remains the leading cause of injury-related deaths for Ohioans. The increase in overdose deaths continues to be driven by the prevalence of fentanyl in many parts of the state, with 1,155 people dying in 2015 attributed to fentanyl, an increase from 503 people in 2014.

 “In 2016, 353 people died in Franklin County due to an accidental drug overdose.  Over the past five years, the number of people who died from an accidental drug overdose increased by 71%.”

Treatment:  For 24-hour-a-day mental health and substance abuse crisis and assessment services, contact NetCare Access.  Other links to treatment are available here

Naloxone/Overdose Reversal:  For information on obtaining Naloxone (for emergency overdose reversal), visit here.

Talking to Your Kids:  For tips on talking to your kids about addiction, visit here.   

Person-Centered Language:  Using person-centered language can help to address the harmful stigma and stereotypes often associated with addiction.  For more, visit Shatterproof

News Reports:  Special reports on the heroin epidemic by the Columbus Dispatch and Cincinnati Enquirer

A Jewish Response to the Addiction Crisis:  Rabbi Mars’s 2018 Rosh Hashanah sermon.

Mon, May 20 2019 15 Iyyar 5779