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Embracing Christ-centered Recovery

John 10:10

Addiction does not discriminate.

Today, 1 in 6 Americans suffers from a substance addiction, yet only 1 in 10 Americans makes it into an addiction treatment program.

In 2017, the US Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis reported that “142 Americans die every day…America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks.” The U.S. Surgeon General, Dr Jerome Adams, stated in 2018 that “We have a person dying every 12.5 minutes from an opioid overdose.” To date the CDC reported that there have been more than 430,000 opioid overdose deaths in the US since 2000. Too many communities and families have been affected by the opioid epidemic and it has taken far too many lives.

While the impact of substance abuse and addiction feels overwhelming, the Addiction Medicine Section believes, together we have an unprecedented opportunity to impact our local communities and nation by strengthening church and health care partnerships amongst the Body of Christ to intercede for and intervene in the lives of those affected by addiction and substance use.

Over the last decade we have seen four waves of the opioid epidemic. Starting with the prescription opioid epidemic, the opioid epidemic has progressed sequentially to the heroin epidemic, synthetic fentanyl epidemic and now polysubstance epidemic, where people are often dying from a combination of synthetic fentanyl, amphetamines, and other sedative hypnotics.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the overdose deaths from all types of drugs have increased by a colossal 30% nationwide with 91,862 fatalities from October 2019 to October 2020. The below graphs from Jalal et al. in Science shows the increasing individual (Graph A) and cumulative (Graph B) overdose deaths from all substances of abuse in the US.


In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recognized church and health care partnerships as an evidence-based solution to prevent and treat addictions in communities affected by addiction. In April 2020, SAMHSA published an urgent issue on the Opioid Crisis and the Black/African American Population, highlighting Dr Ayana Jordan’s IMANI Breakthrough Faith-based Opioid Recovery Program that partnered Yale’s Addiction Medicine Program with 7 Black and 2 Latino churches and has achieved remarkable success in helping over 500 people progress on their path toward recovery.

Opioid Waves

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(Jalal et al, 2018)
(Jalal et al, 2018)

Our Mission

The Addiction Medicine Section of CMDA exists to prevent and treat addiction and transform lives, by God’s grace, love, and power. We strive to provide compassionate excellence in all aspects of addiction care, including whole-person prevention and treatment, education, advocacy, empowerment of others, research, church, and community partnerships, and interprofessional collaboration and support.

Our Purpose

To RISE with Christ and, by His power, excel in these areas:


Research – Support, assist and network with those interested in doing faith-based study and research in addiction medicine.


Inspire – Encourage and support opportunities for interprofessional health professionals, pastors, theologians and the broader recovery care community to co-labor and network together to share ideas, concerns, successes, and prayer for one another.


Serve - Provide excellent, Christ-centered, evidence-based, clinical care to individuals struggling with addictions and their families using the biopsychosocial-spiritual model of whole-person healthcare.


Educate - Educate, equip, and mentor others about successful approaches to addiction - including students, health professionals, patients, families, churches, community groups, politicians, media and others.

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Jesus says in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”


The Addiction Medicine Section believes that God has strategically placed Christians to minister in this spiritual battlefield and that health care and church partnerships will play a key role in strengthening community responses to the polysubstance epidemic facing America. Below is a simple model to show how the person affected by addiction (represented by the Smiley face) can find support from their local Church, surrounding community and family and clinical care (the Middle Ring) as God intervenes in their life (the Outer Ring).


The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:18-20 “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”


Likewise, we look forward to ministering the Gospel of Jesus Christ and equipping those affected by addiction with community resources and medical interventions to aid them in their journey of replacing these substances of abuse with the Spirit so that they may be set free and have life and have it abundantly!