This also involves finding foster parents for children of addicted parents, particularly those whose parents have overdosed and those who suffer from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.
Ultimately, Catholics must "recognize that it's not just the addicts; it's the whole family that suffers," he continued.
Catholic Charities in the Galveston-Houston archdiocese is "already on to this question," Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said at the U.S. bishops' 2017 spring meeting, and is providing "the kinds of charity and help and counseling for them and their families that Catholic Charities by its professional expertise brings."
Bishop Edward Malesic of Greensburg, Pa. published a pastoral letter on the opioid crisis in June 2017. In his diocese in Western Pennsylvania, over 300 opioid-related deaths had ravaged the communities in the previous year.
In his "Pastoral Letter on the Drug Abuse Crisis from Death and Despair to Life and Hope," Bishop Malesic called the crisis "a plague that has come into the homes and families of every city, town, and even the rural areas of our diocese."
He stressed the need for Christian hope in God's providence, and called on Catholics to reach out and prayerfully accompany those struggling with addiction.
The bishop also announced initiatives the diocese was taking to respond to the crisis, including educational initiatives at the parish level and developing family recovery groups.
In March 2016, Massachusetts bishops also issued a statement in response to the state's rising drug-overdose crisis, after the rate of overdose deaths had reached record levels there.
"We encourage our sisters and brothers who are suffering addiction or the addiction of loved ones to turn to their faith community for support, counsel and compassion, and we pray that those most affected will receive the physical, emotional and spiritual help that they need," the state's bishops said.
Last year, Catholic Charities received a nearly $1 million grant to treat opioid addiction in the rural New York counties of Orange, Sullivan and Ulster, about 70 miles mother of New York City. Many people in the area have few means of transpiration and are unable to access treatment.