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Norfolk Police Officer urges church to tackle addiction 

Norfolk Christian police officer Marie Reavey who leads the national initiative Faith and Police Together, believes God is calling the church to step up and tackle the issue of addiction and is putting together a toolkit to help.

Acting Inspector Marie Reavey (pictured), leads the national initiative Faith and Police Together, encouraging faith-based organisations to support Police Related Priorities.  This week Marie announced that she is developing a toolkit to encourage and empower churches to get more involved in tackling addiction.

Marie said: “I believe God is calling the church to step up and start to tackle the issue of addiction which is so often not considered when social action is being looked into. Yet it is probably one of the most significant factors to the poverty and breakdown within our society.” 

In February a round-table conversation in Norwich with churches, faith groups and police hosted by Redeeming Our Communities, a founding member of Faith and Police Together, highlighted addiction as the second biggest issue in the city.

In a letter to Norfolk Christians Marie said: “I am currently developing a toolkit that will help encourage and give ideas for ways churches can get involved.” She also asks others to join with her in praying for churches to see the need and get equipped to help tackle addiction. 

The Acting Inspector detailed a powerful vision she received in 2016 whilst praying for a prolific offender, an IV heroin addict. She said: “God gave me a vision (still to be fulfilled). He showed me him and his partner both following Jesus, set free from addictions and the associated issues that go with it. He got a job and for the first time in his life was paying taxes instead of claiming benefits. Social services gave their children back and they were functioning well as a family with the support of the church, so well that Social services withdrew their support from the family completely.

“As a result [in the vision] he was no longer committing crime which meant that there were fewer victims of crime and the knock-on effect of that on the victims. There was reduced demand on the police service, the criminal justice system, the prison service, the probation service, the NHS and social services. Even the education system benefited as their children were now in a stable home and were encouraged to go to school and were receiving support at home and from the wider church family.

“Then God said to me imagine the impact there would be if ten families were transformed like this. Now imagine if it happened to all the addicts on an entire estate or town. This is only the impact on the first generation, Imagine the knock-on impact on the succeeding generations as the cycle of drug abuse is broken.”

Marie goes on to list the social and economic cost of drug supply in England and Wales, an estimated £10.7 billion a year, £6 billion of which is attributed to crime committed to fund the addiction such as burglary, robbery and shoplifting. She states that drug abuse drives serious and organised crime and contributes to human trafficking, child abuse, child neglect and suicide.

She said: “These are all areas that impact on policing and wider society. From a report in 2011 the estimated annual cost of maintaining treatment and paying benefits to the 320,000 problematic drug users was £3.6 billion. This includes £1.7 billion in benefits, £1.2 billion for looking after the children of drug addicts and £730 million for prescribing methadone.  That figure is likely to have increased since then. I could go on about the socio-economic cost but I think you’ve probably got the picture. And the above doesn’t and can’t put a value on someone’s life - both of the life of the user and their families.”

Marie concludes the letter saying: "Please can I encourage you and your church to start to pray into this; praying that the Church would see the need, would receive Gods heart for those caught in addiction and would get equipped and help to tackle addiction. And also that whatever I write for the tool kits would be a really useful resource."

To find out more about Faith and Police Together go to www.faithandpolicetogether.org.uk


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