The Destructiveness of Drugs
By Ken Walker –
My wife and I recently attended the graduation ceremony for nine men who had completed a drug treatment program that lasted anywhere from 12 to 18 months, depending on their circumstances.
The most fascinating story came from the man who wound up living on the streets because of his addiction. Desperate, one night he looked up and cried, “God, you’ve got to get me out of here.”
Two days later, someone gave him the treatment center’s phone number. He called it and got admitted. The night he spoke, he was serving an internship as a chaplain at the facility.
Lives changed by the power of God- the kind of stories that never make headlines, but represent ground zero in the war against drugs.
Others told of similar hopelessness. The speaker that night had served several years in prison. His younger brother had died because of using the meth the speaker had taught him how to manufacture.
For those who take a “do whatever makes you feel good” attitude towards marijuana and other mind-altering substances, they ought to listen to stories of the devastation caused by drugs.
Their use and abuse do not represent victimless crimes. They destroy not only the users, but countless victims of robberies, assaults and other crimes perpetrated by addicts.
Too much damage
Since an extended family member was one of the graduates, I don’t speak with hostility towards the drug user. But I have seen up close the damage drugs cause, including more shoplifting than police can keep up with, family chaos, and innocent children too often left in their wake.
A man I know well leads Narcotics Anonymous meetings in Denver. He says Colorado’s legalization of pot has caused many in NA all kinds of problems. As if they needed any encouragement, some rationalize that if pot is legal, it must be all right.
With Washington and other states set to follow Colorado’s lead, I was encouraged to read about Pope Francis’ recent comments opposing the legalization of drugs.
USA Today reported that the pope told delegates to a drug-enforcement conference in Rome that even limited attempts to legalize recreational drugs “are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce the desired effects.”
“‘Likewise, providing addicts with drugs doesn’t solve the problem and is ‘rather a veiled means of surrendering to the phenomenon,’ he said. “‘Let me state this in the clearest terms possible: the problem of drug use is not solved with drugs!’”
Turning the Tide
Because Pope Francis has had so many admirers during his short tenure in office, he has the kind of influence that could help turn the tide against the legalization trend.
Thanks to his voice, others may follow and cause legislators to reconsider.
In early June, I edited a blog for Bob Russell, who formerly pastored one of the nation’s largest churches in Louisville, Kentucky.
In it, he called pot legalization a “train roaring down the track.” However, for those tempted to join in or take a benign view of marijuana use, Russell listed biblical and common-sense arguments that favor abstaining, such as its addictive nature and it having no place in God’s family.
Then there are the unpleasant societal realities:
“Already we’re reading disturbing headlines, Russell wrote. “(Such as) ‘Two Colorado fourth-graders busted for selling marijuana at their elementary school,’ ‘Nineteen-year old college student dies when he jumps off a hotel balcony after eating a marijuana-laced cookie,’ ‘Forty-seven year old man charged with shooting and killing his wife after eating pot-infused candy.’ Another recent headline read: ‘Marijuana may cause heart problems in young adults.’”
When one surveys the enormous problems across America with heroin addiction, prescription pill abuse, and meth’s destruction, legalizing pot takes on the tinge of insanity.