NEW ORLEANS (BP)–America’s answer to its drug problem can be found in the family and in the church, said Southern Baptist Convention agency head Richard Land June 12.
“While our nation’s current struggle with drug abuse can be traced to many causes, the family and the church remain the two institutions best suited to confront the underlying issues and provide the help hurting individuals need,” he told the SBC annual meeting during his report on behalf of the SBC’s drug task force.
Land, president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, serves as chairman of the task force. The group, formed by the convention in 1998, is composed of the leaders of the 12 SBC agencies. The task force was charged with reporting back to the convention in 2001.
Land said drug use and abuse, including alcohol, is “ravaging families,” noting that nearly 15 million Americans used illegal drugs during the past 30 days. He said one in four children live in a home where an adult is addicted to or abusing alcohol.
“When the family and the church are healthy and Christ-centered and functioning as God intended, people can find the emotional and physical support, encouragement, stability and connection they need to succeed in a world filled with dangers, disappointments and the demands of life in the 21st century,” Land said.
He indicated the drug task force meets regularly to discuss strategies for reducing drug abuse, noting that church members are not immune from the problem.
Land noted that longtime anti-drug activist Ted Stone recently published two books that target the user and those who are called to minister to those in bondage to drugs. Land cited materials that are available from the ERLC “that are designed to assist people in understanding the problem of drug abuse and how to break out of that bondage,” including the ERLC’s new Champion Action Kits.
He commended the North American Mission Board for its strategic focus on bringing the “life-changing good news of Jesus Christ to needy souls” to America’s inner cities, where drug abuse abounds.
Noting that drug abuse contributes to numerous social ills and that it ravages families, Land said Southern Baptist agencies are focusing on materials and programs that emphasize prevention. He called on churches to consider establishing Christ-centered halfway houses in their communities.
“The scourge of illicit drug use is devastating our children,” Land said, calling on Southern Baptists to help “inoculate our young people” against this serious problem.