JFS CARESCommunity Awareness Resources and Education for Substance use issues
In the spring of 2018, JFS CARES was created in response to the continued upward trend of fatalities in our area from accidental opiate poisonings or overdoses. Substance use disorder claimed the lives of adults in our community and JFS, in partnership with the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, felt like the time was right for us to address the crisis. In an effort to meet the evolving needs of the community, JFS added a Substance Use Outreach Coordinator to its’ team to address the impact of substance use and related disorders on individuals and families by engaging with local spiritual leaders, professionals and educators to raise awareness and address the stigma associated with this mental health issue. Unfortunately, the health crisis continues. Florida reported 5,621 overdose deaths, a 14% increase from January 2019 to January 2020, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And in parts of South Florida, early numbers suggest the data for 2020 could be even worse.
The difficulty family members experience when trying to understand this illness is unparalleled. Families become riddled with shame, believing that they are responsible for what is often perceived as a moral failing. The goal of JFS CARES is to assist families understand what recovery is for their loved ones and themselves. JFS believes that education and outreach will help develop the emotional support systems and connections families need to heal.
Through our partnerships JFS weaves supportive services from our agency with primary care behavioral health providers, our county behavioral health coalition, prevention experts and professional committees throughout North America. Our resources include networks of advocates and compassionate partners nationally focused on recovery from substance use in the Jewish community.
For additional information on JFS CARES and the JFS CARES Peer Support Circle, contact Sharon Burns-Carter, CAC, JFS' Substance Use Outreach Coordinator at: firstname.lastname@example.org , or 561-852-3333.