Urban Religious Congregations' Responses to Community Substance Use

An Exploratory Study of Four Cases

Published in: Journal of Religion and Health, Volume 58, Issue 4, pages 1340-1355 (August 2019). doi: 10.1007/s10943-019-00788-9

by Benjamin E. Hidalgo, Kathryn Pitkin Derose, David E. Kanouse, Peter Mendel, Ricky N. Bluthenthal, Clyde W. Oden

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Faith-based drug treatment programs are common, and many are implemented through congregations; however, little is documented about how congregations conceptualize and implement these programs. We use case study analysis to explore congregational approaches to drug treatment; qualitative findings emerged in three areas: (1) religion's role in congregational responses to substance use, (2) relationships between program participants and the broader congregation, and (3) interactions between congregational programs and the external community. Congregational approaches to drug treatment can be comprehensive, but work is needed to evaluate such efforts. Congregants' attitudes may influence whether program participants become members of a sustaining congregational community.

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