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            FAITH, HOPE & THE BURDEN OF ADDICTION, a CBS Interfaith Special, looks at how the nation’s prescription drug and heroin epidemic is affecting communities in America. This special broadcast will be on the CBS Television Network on Sunday, April 12, 2015 (check local listings).

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are more deaths from opioids in this country than from car accidents and gunshot wounds. In the broadcast, Michael Botticelli, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, talks about the administration’s efforts to reduce illicit drug use as it moves from the cities to the suburbs.  The administration believes substance use disorders are a public health issue, not a criminal justice problem, and they are working to put an adequate infrastructure in place to support this change in policy.

Meanwhile, scientific advances of the last 20 years have changed how we understand addiction as a chronic brain disease. We hear from some of the pioneers in the field of addiction research and treatment including Dr. David Gastfriend, CEO of Treatment Research Institute (TRI), in Philadelphia, Pa. TRI Senior Research Scientist, Dr. Kathleen Meyers, talks about why legal and illegal drugs of today are especially dangerous in the hands of young people and why we need more efforts around prevention and intervention.

We also hear from Rev. Richard Cizik, President of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good in Washington, D.C., who lost his 23-year-old son to a heroin overdose in December 2013. Today, Cizik shares his story to raise awareness about the vulnerability of young people to illicit drug use. He believes the faith community could be doing more to help reduce the stigma of addiction. Cizik and his pastor, the Rev. Toby Larson of Celebration Church, started the first drug addiction task force in their hometown of Fredericksburg, Va. Their hope is to prevent more deaths by offering support for families and lobby for better treatment options for addicts.

The program also visits Scituate, Mass., where a grassroots coalition was formed in response to the opioid epidemic in young adults. The Scituate FACTS Coalition brings together local law enforcement, school officials and treatment providers as a means to help prevent teen drug abuse. We speak to co-founder Annmarie Galvin about why she helped start this organization. In April 2014, local clergy partnered with the coalition and held a vigil at the local high school. We speak about these efforts with members of the Scituate Clergy Association, including Rev. Mike Dunfee of First Trinitarian Congregational Church UCC, Rev. Dan Eddy of Christ Lutheran Church, Rev. Jenny Styers of Harbor United Methodist Church and Pastor Barbara Welch, a minister in the American Baptist Church.

Finally, Meghann Perry, a native of Scituate, discusses her 18-year struggle to overcome an addiction to heroin. Today she is clean and credits her recovery, in part, to connecting with her spiritual self and community. Today, she is an active member of Harbor United Methodist Church.  

John P. Blessington is senior executive producer and Liz Kineke is producer. In creating the topics and content of this Cultural & Religious Documentary CBS seeks input from the National Council of Churches, the Interfaith Broadcast Commission, and from clergy, scholars and other representatives of each of the religions presented within a program.

Following the April 12 air date, this program may be viewed again at “Like” us on and follow us on Twitter at @CBSReligion.

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Press Contact: Jeremy Murphy 212-975-4577