Face It TOGETHER Denver will collaborate with community partners to remove barriers to getting help and improve long-term addiction care to get dramatically more people well.

Fast forward to 2017, and the country boasts the fewest drinking, smoking and drug-taking youth on the continent. The turnaround is credited, partly, to an American psychologist and drug researcher who was convinced that replacing artificial highs with natural highs — before addiction began — could change a society.

The South Dakota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has partnered with Face It TOGETHER Sioux Falls in a new initiative -- “Communities Facing Addiction” -- to help drug and alcohol addiction sufferers get well.

We do not call patients with diabetes “sugar abusers,” nor do we say their blood is “dirty” with sugar. Describing patients as having a substance use disorder demonstrates that their illness does not define them, just as we should no longer call a person with schizophrenia a “schizophrenic.”