Ted G. Stone & Philip D. Barber

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FIRST-PERSON: More of the hurting find hope

DURHAM, N.C. (BP)--The plane was late in arriving at the Charlotte airport, but we soon spotted Matthew, the 20-year-old from Las Vegas who had traveled to North Carolina seeking a special dose of hope for the drug problem that had clouded his life the past few years. He would soon be in the mountain treatment center where he expected to make a change in the direction of his life.

FIRST-PERSON: ‘Let go and let God’

DURHAM, N.C. (BP)--“He still thinks he can do it on his own!” another disappointed parent confessed.

FIRST-PERSON: Grace amid our weakness

DURHAM, N.C. (BP)--The phone rang late at night. It was obvious by the caller's slurred, emotional words that he was drinking heavily.

FIRST-PERSON: Honest answers

DURHAM, N.C. (BP)--Only those who live in a dream world, unencumbered by the daily tragedies and challenges of the real world, would flippantly comment, "I know of no one with a drug problem." Our telephones ring constantly, our mailboxes are full and there is no shortage of individuals who seek help and hope for their loved ones who hurt.

FIRST-PERSON: Charting an alternative

DURHAM, N.C. (BP)--In a question-and-answer session at Parkview Baptist Church in Morehead City, N.C., on Nov. 16, a concerned member echoed the question most often tendered in a church setting: "What can we do to be a part of the solution of the drug problem?"

FIRST-PERSON: Part II: ‘War on drugs’ leads public astray

DURHAM, N.C. (BP)--The national roadmap to victory in the much-heralded "war on drugs" has proven to be misleading to the public. In the first of this two-part series (Baptist Press, Aug. 27), we assessed six of the major misconceptions promoted, deliberately or accidentally, by those entrusted with leadership roles in this effort. In today's column we will address another six misconceptions.

FIRST-PERSON: Heralded ‘war on drugs’ leads public astray

DURHAM, N.C. (BP)--Leaders in today's "war on drugs" have placed their major emphases on interdiction efforts and stiff punishments for those who produce, smuggle or sell illegal substances. A lesser degree of attention has been paid to certain prescribed prevention and treatment efforts. Public opinion has been mobilized to insure the continuation of these somewhat questionable but noble-appearing efforts. In order to justify this current agenda of action, our leadership has perpetuated several misconceptions designed to hold at bay those who ordinarily might question a course that thus far has offered no real proof of permanent success.

FIRST-PERSON: Real forgiveness amid lingering consequences

DURHAM, N.C. (BP)--Following a recent speaking engagement a member of the congregation walked forward. "Before we complete the service, let me say something." He paused for a moment, trying to control his emotions and collect his thoughts.

FIRST-PERSON: Listen to the voices

DURHAM, N.C. (BP)--Several months ago we received a contact from a bivocational pastor and his wife who had read the HomeLife cover feature we had authored in the magazine's September 2001 issue. They were deeply concerned about their sons who had tasted the bitter fruits of drug abuse. The concerned parents wrote us a lengthy letter detailing all the agonizing events in each son's history. Their deep frustration and pain had not killed their abiding love for their children, and they eagerly sought from us advice and encouragement, which we gladly dispensed. They were determined to rescue their errant loved ones from their own self-made hells on earth.

FIRST-PERSON: Peer pressure, positive activities can aid in drug abuse prevention

DURHAM, N.C. (BP)--Peer pressure is often the whipping boy in discussions about drug abuse. We usually assume that others force our loved ones to join the ranks of drug abusers. However, peer pressure is a much more subtle occurrence, and the choice to join the activities of one group or another often is born within oneself rather than outside.