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Brunswick Priest Asking Religious Leaders To Address Opioid Abuse

At St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Brunswick, Fr. Bob Stec (left) and Andy Klemm, a junior at Padua Franciscan in Parma, both say the opioid epidemic needs to be addressed with communication across age and socioeconomic lines.
At St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Brunswick, Fr. Bob Stec (left) and Andy Klemm, a junior at Padua Franciscan in Parma, both say the opioid epidemic needs to be addressed with communication across age and socioeconomic lines.
At St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Brunswick, Fr. Bob Stec (left) and Andy Klemm, a junior at Padua Franciscan in Parma, both say the opioid epidemic needs to be addressed with communication across age and socioeconomic lines.
Credit KABIR BHATIA / WKSU
At St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Brunswick, Fr. Bob Stec (left) and Andy Klemm, a junior at Padua Franciscan in Parma, both say the opioid epidemic needs to be addressed with communication across age and socioeconomic lines.

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.

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