The Drugs Problem
Humanly speaking, man is unable to solve the drugs dilemma. This is because man fails to address the core issue – the real problem.
The heart of the problem is the problem of the heart.
The problem of drug use in Northern Ireland has become an increasing concern. A decade ago it would have been comparatively easy to name the main substances being abused here – Cannabis, Ecstasy, Cocaine, Heroin, LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide) and Amphetamine Sulphate. This is no longer the case.
Today’s local drugs scene is very different. There is a vast array of drugs now available in our country. Substances such as: Mephedrone, Crack Cocaine, New Psychoactive Substances, Ketamine, Meth Amphetamine and DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) now join an extensive list of illicit substances along with those previously mentioned.
The problem has been compounded by an increase in prescribed medication being abused on both a local and national level. It would be remiss not to mention alcohol and tobacco whenever we consider mind-altering, mood-changing substances. Although legal, both types have devastating consequences on individuals and families.
Why have we witnessed such an increase? Who or what is behind it all? It is stating the obvious to say that drugs are big business! Scripture warns us, “the love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). The prospect of a substantial prison sentence is viewed as a risk worth taking to those who are involved in the unscrupulous world of supplying drugs.
However, behind the lucrative drugs trade there is a greater force at work. Writing to the church at Corinth Paul said, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” The devil’s aim is for men and women to remain blinded and lost in the darkness of their sin. Music and drugs are two powerful tools Satan employs to achieve that goal. Drugs alter and change the way the mind works.
The word “witchcraft” (Galatians 5:20), comes from the Greek root word pharmakeus which literally means, “drug, spell-giving potion or poisoner.” The Holy Spirit reveals to us the inextricable link between drugs and the devil. Witchcraft and mind-altering substances go hand in hand. Drugs such as LSD and DMT alter our perception of sight and sound in a way that God never intended man to experience.
The consequences of drug taking are many and far-reaching. Lives are destroyed, and families are torn apart. Sadly, many parents know only too well what it means to lose a night’s sleep due to worry over a wayward child who is using drugs.
Drug use oftentimes leads to addiction. For the addict it was never meant to be that way. No-one sets out to ruin their life through addiction. However, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10). Satan is a master of deception and knows how to lure young people into the web of addiction.
There are physical and psychological aspect of drug dependency.
The U.S. Supreme Court aptly described the life of an addict when it noted, “Boils and abscesses plague the skin; gnawing pain racks the body. Nerves snap; vicious twitching develops. Imaginary and fantastic fears blight the mind, and sometimes complete insanity results. Often times, too, death comes – much too early in life… Such is the torment of being a drug addict; such is the plague of being one of the walking dead!”
Drugs can affect a person in various ways: physically, psychologically, emotionally, socially, legally, and financially. However, drug addiction does not just affect the body and the mind, it affects the soul. The greatest consequence of addiction is spiritual.
A familiar phrase is, “Once an addict always an addict.” Humanly speaking, man is unable to solve the drugs dilemma. This is because man fails to address the core issue – the real problem. The heart of the problem is the problem of the heart. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:9-10). Drug addiction is ultimately a spiritual problem and therefore needs a spiritual remedy. The answer to addiction is the Lord Jesus Christ. It is only by saving faith in the Son of God that a person will truly know victorious freedom from the chains of addiction.
The Lord Jesus Christ is able to set men free from the penalty and power of their sin – including drug addiction. “If the Son therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).
John 5 records details of the man who lay at the Pool of Bethesda. For thirty-eight years he lived without being healed. When asked by the Saviour if he wanted to be made whole, he replied, “Sir, I have no man” (John 5:7). He had no health, no hope and no help. In many ways the impotent man is a picture of the addict who lives without hope. It is the mission of the church to preach the gospel and bear testimony to the real hope there is in Christ. We hold the answer in our hands – the Word of God. May the Lord grant us the concern, compassion and commitment to reach out to those who are living without God and without hope all around us. “Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard” (Proverbs 21:13).
Mr Chris Killen
(Missionary to the addicted.)