Drug abuse has serious negative impact on the family. As recently as 2016, The Department of Health and Human Services has found that 11 million Americans misused prescription opioids, and another stat says as many as 26 million have self-reported misuse of prescription drugs. There are 1 million who use heroin, and 2.1 million who have an opioid addiction due to prescription use. If you combine addiction and abuse of alcohol, illicit drugs and opiates over half of American families are struggling with active addiction.
Sadly, many unsuspecting citizens have a legitimate physical injury due to accidents, athletics or citizens in need of a surgery or medical procedure and are prescribed opiates and are unaware of the power of its addictive properties. They subsequently find themselves addicted. Besides the significance of our population that is addicted or abuses alcohol or drugs, most recently with the opioid epidemic the latest statistics say 115 of precious souls die every day from opioid abuse. Another statistic says there 176 overall daily deaths of precious souls due to addiction.
In recent years the system has become aware of this unintended consequence on many of our citizen’s and have begun to address it with more awareness of its dangers and addictive properties and implementing prescription monitoring programs for the medical profession, but tragically the person is already addicted. As a consequence of being cut off on their opiates, to manage their pain, preserve their addiction and their body’s dependency on the drugs, many of them are turning to “the streets” to find heroin or painkillers, and many are consequently dying from overdose. Reuter’s reports that death from overdose have quintupled. Another cause leading to death is the fact that the heroin on the streets is many times laced with fentanyl, which the FDA says is 50 to 100 times more powerful than heroin. There have been reports that fentanyl is so strong, that drug dogs are dying from its scent.
Our experience has found that for every addict or abuser there are three to five people affected negatively. Knowing this, if you add the those affected to the over half who are addicted or abuse drugs, some studies suggest 60 %, of the population is addicted, then every U.S home is affected.
Drugs are not just pervasive in some secluded inner-city street or a “crack house”, but in our own neighborhoods and homes. Tragically, parents, spouses, and children have to watch the destruction of their loved ones, loss of job, loss of home, loss of custody, loss of health and loss of hope and dreams. Furthermore, the family member themselves live under the strain, stress, fear, anxiety, recurring conflict and mistrust in their family relationships. They have exhausted all their energy, resources and are at their wits end in dealing with their loved one. We feel a strong call to help these families.
In addition to this, the substance abuse issue in our nation has other consequences. Drug related criminal offenses like possession, delivery and manufacturing controlled substances have our prisons and jails overpopulated. Furthermore, the majority of the populations does not realize that the majority of all criminal offenses, i.e. Burglary, robbery, assault, DWI are committed under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Any effort we can engage to aggressively deal with this problem can affect change and prevent future crimes from ever happening.
Substance abuse is no respecter of person, race, class, religion or gender. The faith community is not spared from its devastating consequences.