ROWAN COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - In an area where it's not too hard to find a steeple, even two on one block, beyond the sanctuary walls there is an epidemic claiming lives.
"From the time I was 12 years old until I was 21, I struggled with addiction," Sal Dibianca says.
Dibianca is part of Cabarrus and Rowan County's faith-based communities working to do something for those who struggle like he did.
"People don't have to manage addiction," he says. "They can actually be free. And I know that by experience."
More than a dozen of the area's churches and Christian organizations are now coming together. They are planning a nationally-recognized event called "Hope Over Heroin," believing faith could be the missing link in the local fight against opioid addiction.
"We know that [faith] is an element that we need to fight this," Pastor Brian Rabon says.
Rabon says most people he meets have known someone impacted by addiction, or faced addiction themselves.
"The faith community cannot sit back and not do anything," he says.
"Hope Over Heroin" will bridge the gap, he says, between community members and the resources they need.
Set for September, it is in the planning stages, but people like Dibianca hope it is a place they can share their story, for those who need to hear it.
"Tools that helped me walk out of darkness and into light, and out of addiction and into freedom," he says.
At this event, there will be things like art, entertainment and giveaways, but also people there to treat anyone who is high and offer them a ride to a clinic.
There will also be memorials for those the community has lost and a great deal of resources.