Missionary Papers, The Cross & The Culture:
Drug Addiction: It’s Complicated
Drug use is unfortunately in large demand. From legal use, a result of manipulating doctors to receive a desired prescription. To the illegal user that knows which street corner to find their dealer. Drug use is actually a very complex phenomenon extent amongst mankind, and far too common. When I write or speak on such issues, I have two desires in mind. First is simplicity, breaking down situations or ideas into simple terms often exposes them. Secondly, in my desire to achieve simplicity, I don’t want to belittle the complexity that might exist. Loss of proper balance between the two can create misinformation regarding drug use and can cause users to perceive a lack of necessary compassion for their situation.
In the social media age, inaccuracies dominate the airwaves. Agenda along with politically charged philosophical postulates prevail over truth. In a world led by feelings, in defiance to facts, ideas regarding addiction have become perplexed. Realities based in evidence are replaced by stereotypes steeped in misinformation. Philosophies regarding addiction are formulated from the responsive opinions of addicts. The ability and willingness of addicts to manipulate is all too well known, thus forming theory regarding treatments from such input is absurd. But, welcome to 2020.
Reliance on responses and opinions of addicts as factors for treatment fails to balance that reliance by considering the motivation for such responses and opinions. Reviewing behavior in light of verbal response is very telling. For instance, an addict will often, in dramatic performance, explain how addiction is impossible for them to overcome. Yet, when a police officer enters the scene, they are suddenly able to put their addiction away. I once had a friend ask me what I think should happen to a mentally handicapped individual that performs some heinous criminal act. The basis of the scenario emanated from an assumption the mental handicap rendered the person incapable of understanding the evils they had performed. I asked my friend in response, “Did he do it in the open to be seen or did he hide as to make sure he was unseen?” If he did it openly, in full view of society, that might suggest to me the person may have lacked necessary understanding. Though it certainly is not definitively true. If the evil was performed in such a way as to hide, it suggests they understood full well the wrong to which they had employed themselves. Behavior matters greatly, what people say unfortunately is often unreliable. Especially in situations regarding addiction, with addiction comes the learned ability to manipulate.
As a result of this line of thinking, backed by biblical principles, I subscribe to an unpopular view regarding drug addiction. I hold to the idea that drug use is a choice made by an individual. Drug addiction is the result of a series of choices to maintain use over an extended period of time. I don’t believe it can be demonstrated on a large scale that doctors cause addiction, though I do believe a certain amount of irresponsibility has aided its existence. Many individuals enter a doctor’s office in hopes a medication will be administered to assist in removing their sobriety. I also don’t hold to the idea drug dealers are in the streets forcing business upon unfortunate passersby. People interested in drugs seek the dealers out to purchase their drug of choice. It’s unfortunate the street dealer exists, but they would fail to exist if people would stop buying. Finally, I don’t accept the idea that addiction is some sort of ineluctable disease. Drug use at any level is a choice, where the drugs are purchased is an aspect of that choice.
Philosophical approaches that remove individual responsibility also remove the coherent connection to the resolution. A “forgive them for they know not what they do” mentality is sorely misplaced and demonstrably untrue. This mindset is a tool facilitating the use of manipulation by addicts. For the addict, the existence of such thinking lends practically to their chosen lifestyle. As long as they can claim they have no control over their current situation, and society will follow, they receive a perpetual pass to remain where they are in life. Consent to negative behavior based upon the explanations and feelings of individuals motivated to be where they are is circular and in reference to addiction harmful.
Overwhelmingly, the current ideas surrounding addiction defend addicts as unfortunate victims of an uncontrollable disease. Therefore any behavior connected to this disease is beyond control. The resulting and organically connected thefts, lies, violence, etc. are regrettable, but inescapable. Anyone willing to go against this mainstream idea will make themselves a target. It’s sort of like telling children there is no Santa, we are all supposed to go along regardless the facts surrounding the matter. Meanwhile, ever-growing numbers of addicts remain trapped in their pharmacological paradise, that no doubt is eventually revealed to be an inferno.
This discussion is essential due to the number of large cities in America encroached upon by drug addicts that have chosen life in the streets. It may be prudent for governmental leaders to rethink their policies. Currently, I am unaware of a single city making decisions that have resulted in some sense of correction. Rather, in each, the tent cities grow in great number and drug abuse increases. At some point, someone with a measure of integrity may consider changing course. That is so far as the end goal is to deter drug abuse and stop the evolution of needle-covered city campgrounds. In terms of attempting to resolve this issue, the result of current policy displays high levels of incompetency. Thus far, news briefings speaking softly as to display some sense of compassion have been the response, not a change in direction.
Persistence in maintaining narratives based on dreamy ideas continue to exasperate. Inaccurate perceptions and misplaced blame fuel this crisis. It could be brought under control if proper measures were taken, but it starts with a change in mentality. People that use drugs, choose to use those drugs and therefore should be held effectively accountable. Currently, addicts have no consequential reason not to use their drug of choice. They aren’t casualties amongst the many that have fallen prey to a disease. Their behavior is voluntary and should be dealt with accordingly. Proper forms of accountability would deter a goodly number from ever getting involved with drugs in the first place. An equal and opposite reaction to drug use is a necessary step to slowing and eventually gaining control over this crisis.
1 Corinthians 16:15 (KJV) I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,). The word of God speaks of addiction in proper terms. Though the use here doesn’t refer to drug addiction, the indication is those involved placed themselves in this situation by focused choice. Addiction is defined: The act of devoting or giving up in practice; the state of being devoted. Drug addicts are among the most devoted people I know, but the object of that devotion is a harmful substance. People choose to use drugs for various reasons, but its important to understand they do so on purpose. With options available, volition is exercised to its eventual consequential end. That is, addiction is nothing more than a persistently repeated decision. If this sense of personal power and individual responsibility is not restored, victory over addiction will surely fail to follow. The moment the addict applies the same devotion to removing the substance as is applied to finding the substance, their lives would be altered.
I personally know a Saviour that would greatly enjoy helping anyone found in such a situation. I believe data would back the idea Bible-Believing faith-based rehab centers have higher success rates of rehabilitation than standard non-Bible-based facilities. Yet, the reality is, the people that receive help are the people that want help. If you are interested in taking control of this situation, please contact me and I will assist you in getting the help you so desire. But be sure, the longer you linger, turning the tide will be increasingly difficult. Drug addiction exemplifies an aspect of human behavior that breaks the heart of ministers of the gospel. The idea can be summed in this: how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
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