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00000174-c556-d691-a376-cdd69e980000Day after day, week after week, the headlines in Northeast Ohio and across much of the country contain news of tragic loss: lives lost to opioids. It’s a problem that knows no bounds: geography, race, gender, level of education or income.The problem took on new urgency this summer as the powerful elephant sedative, Carfentanil, began hitting the streets. First responders armed with their only weapon, the overdose antidote Naloxone, have struggled to keep up with what’s become an overwhelming problem. It’s an issue that’s straining public and social resources. What has become clear is that business as usual is not going to fix the problem.WKSU news has been covering the unfolding crisis. Tuesdays during Morning Edition, the WKSU news team digs even deeper. WKSU reporters will examine what’s led us here and what might be done to turn the tide. Support for Opioids: Turning the Tide in the Crisis comes from Wayne Savings Community Bank, Kent State University Office of Continuing and Distance Education, Hometown Grocery Delivery, Mercy Medical Center, AxessPointe Community Health Center, Community Support Services, Inc., Medina County District Library and Hudson Community First.00000174-c556-d691-a376-cdd69e980001

Brunswick Priest Asking Religious Leaders To Address Opioid Abuse

photo of Fr. Bob Stec, Andy Klemm

Congregations throughout the state heard about the state’s opioid problem over the weekend as part of a push from a church in Northeast Ohio.

Last year, Fr. Bob Stec of St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Brunswick presided over six funerals for opioid victims in less than a month, and early yesterday morning, he learned of another victim – a 30-year-old – among his parishioners at St. Ambrose in Brunswick.

"My heart breaks, especially, for our senior members. Because at one point you think you should be able to be done parenting. But if there was an admonition, every parent who is 65-plus also needs to understand this because it's not a teen problem, it's not an urban core problem, it's a 20-, 30-, 40-year-old problem."

He believes that many people may be feeling unfulfilled in their lives, and so they turn to prescription medications to fill the void. And when those run out, they might turn to something stronger. That’s why he called on religious leaders to address the issue yesterday, ahead of National Drug Take Back Day, which is this coming Saturday.

"There were 500-plus that at least were engaged with this and said that they wanted to do something. So we gave them print pieces, web site pieces and talking points [that] hopefully they would consider using."

Stec launched the nondenominational website GreaterThanHeroin.com last year to connect people with resources to address opioid abuse. And he hopes hearing about opioids this weekend may compel parishioners to clean out their cupboards of old medications ahead of Drug Take Back Day.