There is a sad reality! But we can help it change
According to National Institute of Health “Every day, more than 90 Americans die after overdosing on opioids.” When we use the word Opioids we are referring to, pain medication that is prescribed by our doctors for various issues, including Dental work, surgeries, or broken bones they include such drugs as Vicodin, Percocet, OxyContin and other drugs that are prescribed to deal with pain. Opioid also includes Heroin that generally bought of the street. The individuals in law enforcement, medical community, and treatment providers are estimating the in 2017 that number could be in excess 150 per day.
Within the church I’m seeing more and more the desire or willingness to turn the responsibility for treatment over to the secular community and para-church community (such ministries like: Rescue Missions, Christ based treatment programs, ministries like Salvation Army and Teen Challenge). Despite the fact that these ministries have done an awesome job helping folks, my question is “WHAT HAS YOUR CHURCH DONE?”
Please understand that as I write this, I come from a unique perspective: I have been involved in Pastoral Ministry for over 38 years, and I have been working as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor for over 26 years, having been a counselor and program manager in both Christian based para-church ministries including a Recuse Mission and Teen Challenge, as well as worked within secular treatment programs (secular non-profits or state run programs)
The question I ask every church is simple:
1. What are you doing to help individuals that are dealing with a substance abuse problem (could include the Opiates, but also could include Alcohol, Marijuana, Cocaine, and multiple of other drugs.)?
2. What more should you be doing?
How can you help those that are addicted?
1. Provide prayer for their struggle as they deal with the outcomes from their use.
· This could include broken relationships, injury to their body, or injury to someone else either physical or emotional.
2. Provide a non-judgmental attitude
· I understand there will always be a debate between the concept that alcohol and drug use is a “Disease” or that it is a “Sin” regardless of where we fall in the disagreement. Hopefully we can agree on the fact “This person needs people to love, encourage, and pray with them through the process of healing and recovery.
3. Providing a safe environment where drugs and alcohol are not accessible.
· This may require you to re-evaluate your policy or personal position on drinking alcohol or other drugs. When the Apostle Paul’s writes in Romans 14: 20-23 (English Standard Version) to the church in Rome beginning in verse number 20 he states:
(20) Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. (21) It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.[a] (22) The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. (23) But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin
4. Provide a strong support network of encouragement for sobriety and discipleship as they grow in their Christian walk alcohol and drug free.
If you would like more information on this topic, please check out my book @ http://www.revdonallenjr.com/p/books.html