Lonise Bias Helps Kick Off Anti-drug Campaign

April 05, 1991|By Samuel Goldreich | Samuel Goldreich,Staff writer

Church leaders can learn how to fight drug abuse tomorrow night in aprogram launched by the county Office of Drug and Alcohol Programs.

The county will begin a campaign to educate the religious community when Lonise Bias appears at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Artsin Annapolis.

Bias will continue her crusade to save other families from drugs and random violence that killed her sons, Len and Jay.

"I hear thepeople in the community saying the churches should be doing more andI hear the churches saying they would like to do more but don't havethe resources or the expertise," said Richard Johnson, community resources specialist for the drug and alcohol office.

The county willconduct a series of monthly workshops sometime in May to educate religious leaders on how to fill the vacuum in public housing projects and other communities.

Johnson said he hopes to share his experience as pastor of John Wesley United Methodist Church in Crownsville.

As a trained social worker, Johnson had some experience in counseling congregants. But he lacked the expertise to deal with people suffering from addictions.

Part of the county's response was to hire Johnson 16 months ago as a community liaison to the Freetown and Meade Village public housing projects.

Johnson is undergoing advance drugand alcohol training himself and wants to recruit his fellow clergy to the war on drugs.

"To be very honest, the presence of the church right now in many high-risk communities is nonexistent. They're really not involved," Johnson said. "Part of the purpose of these workshops is to make them realize that they are a resource not only to their congregations but to the entire community."

The county workshopswill teach religious groups how to raise money, how to organize community based care for addicts and how to develop programs to aid recovery and reduce relapses.

Bias will bring her "A Message of Hope" to Maryland Hall at 7 p.m. the event is free and open to the public.

Information: 222-1443.

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