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FIRST-PERSON: Drugs can work, but at what cost?

DURHAM, N.C. (BP)–“If so many bad things happen to people who use drugs, then why do people use drugs?” is among the difficult questions we often face in our ministry. At times we have had difficulty providing answers, but on other occasions the true answers can be difficult for our audiences to digest and accept.

There are many reasons why people initially begin to experiment with drugs. But the reason that people continue to use these substances is, quite frankly, because they work.

Steroids, for example, work. They will tone and define muscles and increase strength and endurance. But they also will give you stretch marks, put hair on your back, destroy your kidneys and your liver, and make you volatile. So the question that we must ask ourselves is, “At what cost do these substances work?”

The same could be said for any number of drugs. They do what they are intended to do, but at what cost? It’s not worth the price that you eventually have to pay.

We believe the drug problem in America is proliferated by the philosophy that there is some substance that is going to make us bigger, better, faster, stronger, smarter or more attractive. There simply isn’t.

We are sending our young people a very dangerous message. We are telling them, “Don’t do drugs. Take your medicine! Don’t smoke weed. Take Prozac! Don’t shoot heroin. Drink beer! Don’t buy their drugs. Buy our drugs!”

Legalization of a mood-altering substance does not remove the possibility of terrifying consequences.

In recent years, some states have actually reported more deaths from overdoses of anti-depressants than from cocaine or heroin. This should tell us a little bit about where the drug problem is in this country. The drug problem in America is about more than cocaine, or heroin, or methamphetamine.

It has been very popular for genteel society to vilify illegal drugs and those who abuse them. It is less palatable, however, to take a personal inventory and acknowledge that there are other equally dangerous chemicals that are being prescribed by the medical community and marketed by for-profit companies to the all-too-willing public who cries out for some pill to take that will make everything better.

Parents want their children to be less talkative and less hyper, so the medical community has responded by whipping up a batch of magic pills with names like Ritalin and Aderol. Supposedly there is some genetically predisposed chemical imbalance that produces a malfunction in children’s brains called “ADD.” This “disorder” is associated with hyperactivity, but fortunately, it is treatable with a multi-billion-dollar industry of chemical control agents that contain the same stimulant properties as the ominous methamphetamine.

These drugs used to treat hyper children are classified as Schedule II Drugs, the most highly addictive drugs available by prescription. In this same classification are morphine and amphetamine. There are those who would defensively argue that these drugs work. So does heroin. But at what cost do these substances work?

The drug problem in America is much greater than we could ever have imagined.

There is not a substance that will make every unpleasant feeling evaporate or make every problem simply disappear. As long as we convey this false and dangerous message to our children, we will continue to reap the whirlwind of our misdeeds, and so will our children.
Stone and Barber, of Durham, N.C., are coauthors of two books on alcohol and drug abuse, “The Drug Tragedy – Hope for the One Who Hurts” and “The Drug Tragedy – Hope for the One Who Cares,” both available from LifeWay Christian Stores.

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  • Ted Stone & Philip Barber