Most of us have heard statements such as, “Isn’t it terrible how these young people are dabbling with drugs?” Or, “I heard that nearly half of the youngsters in our local high school are on drugs.” Such declarations are frequently made.
It is true that by the age of seventeen, 70% of all youths have sampled drugs. It is also true that most drug users take their first sniff out of curiosity. The experience turns out to be everything the pusher said it would be. There is a feeling of fearlessness and superiority—and the next day the person who tried the drug out of curiosity is looking for more. After several months, the drug user often gets hooked. He eventually begins to break into apartments, steal from stores, and hold up taxi cabs in order to find money so that he can buy more drugs.
It is important to know what is meant by the word “drugs.” Drugs are substances which by their nature have an effect on the mind and body. Many drugs can be used safely in ways to restore health to individuals. A drug can be used not only for treatment, but also for the diagnosis and prevention of diseases. Every day thousands of lives are saved because of drugs. The most common use of drugs is for the treatment of various illnesses.
Drugs can be taken into the body in different ways. Most drugs are taken by mouth. Others can be taken into the veins or muscles by a needle. A few drugs can be inhaled into the lungs where they are absorbed into the bloodstream. But regardless of how they are taken, they affect many of the cells which make up the organs of the body—the heart, the brain, the kidneys, etc. Some drugs bring about a change in one’s emotions. The concern of the message of this tract centers around the abuse of those drugs that affect one’s emotions—the way a person feels.
1. Various Kinds of Harmful Drugs
The number-one dangerous drug in the United States of America is alcohol. It is mood altering; it depresses the central nervous system; and it can cause physical dependence. Tobacco and marijuana follow as the second and third most widespread drugs which are harmfully used.
Certain drugs can make one feel very excited or very alert. These are usually called stimulants. Stimulants which are often used illegally are the amphetamines, more commonly referred to as “speed” or “uppers.” Certain drugs can make one feel more quiet and calm. These are sometimes referred to as sedatives. The drugs most commonly used for sedation are tobacco and alcohol. Sedatives often used illegally are the barbiturates, more commonly referred to as “downers.”
a) Alcoholic beverages are sedatives. Those who are addicted find that it is difficult to relax in the evening without a glass of wine or a shot of whiskey. At first, a few ounces of wine help one relax—but as time goes on, additional quantities are required to have the same relaxing effect. Alcohol causes a decrease in brain activity and in time it can result in heart disease, cirrhosis of the liver, and other disorders.
b) Tobacco contains a number of drugs. The most potent drug in tobacco is nicotine. Nicotine tends to calm the nerves. Tobacco also has another group of drugs known as “coal tars.” These substances are often the source of cancer of the lips, mouth, throat, and lungs of tobacco users. If one smokes habitually, he shortens his life by an average of 5 1/2 minutes for each cigarette smoked.
c) Marijuana comes from the plant “cannabis sativa.” It grows like a wild weed and thrives in different types of soils. One who smokes marijuana (pot) exhibits an impairment of memory, has difficulty in concentration, and shows a poor work performance. The American Medical Association has reported that prolonged use of marijuana can lead to serious harm to the brain, the circulatory system, and the nervous system. Marijuana use leads to a rapid heart rate, redness of the eyes, dryness of the mouth, an altered state of consciousness, and a distortion of the senses. Nations which have almost universally used marijuana have not become thriving, energetic, and ambitious societies.
d) LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) is a drug which causes hallucinations. The senses of sight and hearing and touch are distorted. There is often a floating feeling and LSD victims are known to have jumped out of high windows or over steep cliffs. Sometimes the user of LSD becomes suspicious of others, feeling that someone is out to harm him. (The American Indian “peyote” is another similar hallucinogenic drug containing mescaline, which also produces illusions and false hallucinations).
e) Amphetamines (stimulants) are drugs which tend to give one energy, wake the person up, and make the user feel like doing things. Abusers take amphetamines to stay awake, keep alert, elevate their mood, increase their initiative, and give them confidence. One of the powerful and commonly abused stimulant drugs is cocaine.
f) Barbiturates (sedatives) are drugs which depress the action of the nerves and thus lead to sluggishness, difficulty in thinking, slowness of speech, poor memory, and faulty judgment. Symptoms of abuse include staggering and stumbling, falling asleep, lack of interest in school, etc. More than 2,500 varieties of barbiturates have been synthesized and many are sold by drug pushers.
g) Opium and heroin (narcotics) are drugs that induce a state of narcosis or sleep. Opium is one of the oldest and most widely used narcotics. It is obtained from the milky substance in the poppy plant and then dried in several stages. The most powerful narcotic is heroin. The drug is generally taken into the system by injecting it into the body. The addict learns that he must continue to take the drug in order to “feel normal.” Heroin is a very difficult drug from which to withdraw.
The most common drugs used illegally are psychedelic drugs like marijuana, narcotic drugs like heroin, and hallucinogenic drugs like LSD. When a drug abuser keeps on using drugs, his body requires an increasing amount of the drug in order to experience the desired effects. Thus he needs larger and larger doses. If he attempts to discontinue their use, he suffers “withdrawal” effects. When the next dose of the drug is not received within a given period of time, the body revolts and a number of symptoms occur, including severe cramping, vomiting, chills, and profuse sweating.
Dedicated Christians view these drugs which have been outlined as harmful to a person’s health, and their abuse is a sin against God.
2. The Bible Speaks About Drugs
Those who are taking drugs are usually experiencing a life filled with loneliness and meaninglessness. Many of the drug users have not experienced acceptance, encouragement, and love from their families. They don’t know any other way to deal with their problems except to use drugs. But unfortunately, taking drugs does not help solve problems. When the effects of the drug wear off, you are going to be facing the same old problems all over again. Neither does taking drugs make a person do anything better. Drug-use does not help increase your skills nor make you more useful in the community. Drugs give you a temporary feeling of being superior, while at the same time, they tear you down physically and make you a slave of addiction.
The Bible is God’s Word and has a message concerning the use of drugs. It also gives a prescription by which one can be delivered from drug abuse.
a) The Bible speaks concerning alcoholic beverages. Alcohol is one of the oldest drugs. A number of Bible passages deal with the problems of alcohol abuse. These include Proverbs 23:20-21, “Be not among winebibbers . . . for the drunkard . . . shall come to poverty.” Proverbs 20:1 says, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” Isaiah 5:11-12 warns, “Woe unto them that . . . follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflames them! . . . they regard not the work of the Lord.” Ephesians 5:18 says, “And be not drunk with wine . . . but be filled with the Spirit.”
Older folks must eliminate the double standard which says in effect that alcohol and tobacco are okay for adults, but children and young people must keep away from beer and pot. The use of alcohol is equally as sinful as the use of other drugs.
b) The Bible speaks concerning Christian living. The body of a believing Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). And because our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, we should not allow them to become enslaved by wicked and degrading habits. Furthermore, we are instructed to be “sober, and watch unto prayer” (1 Peter 4:7). The Scriptures consistently warn against the use of any substance that can alter our minds and weaken our ability to do clear-headed and sober thinking.
c) The Bible speaks concerning the last days. Drugs will be used for evil purposes as we approach the closing days of this age. The Greek word “pharmakeia” is used in Revelation 9:21, 18:23, 21:8, and 22:15. The word speaks of the “use of drugs for a foul purpose.” A paraphrase of Revelation 9:21 would say, “And they did not repent of their murders, or their enchantment with drugs or their sexual vice or their thefts.”
d) The Bible speaks concerning the possibility of deliverance. God says in Jeremiah 32:27, “I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there anything too hard for me?” There is a way to be delivered from the power of drugs and to be saved for eternity. Confess your sins to the Lord Jesus (Romans 10:9-10). Repent and be sorry for your wrong deeds (Luke 13:3). Forsake your wicked way of living (Isaiah 55:7). Call on Jesus and ask Him to come and live in your heart (Revelation 3:20). Make a commitment to follow Him in baptism and in daily life (Matthew 28:19-20).
If you want help, and if you are ready to do something about getting rid of the chains that bind you—get on your knees before God, confess your sins to Him, and ask Him to deliver you from the power of Satan. Open the door of your heart and let Jesus come in.
The use of drugs will no longer have practical value because you will learn that there is another way to deal with loneliness, depression, and feelings of meaninglessness. Jesus Christ offers pardon. Those who accept Him will find a spring in their step, a joy in their heart, and a peace in their soul—such as this world and its temporary thrills have never been able to offer.
Are you looking for real satisfaction? Turn your life over to Jesus Christ and start living for Him. You will find, as Peter did, “. . . joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8). Dig into your Bible and it will expand your mind! (But it will not endanger your mental or your physical health.) Whether you are a drug abuser or not, there is a real fulfilling and challenging life found in knowing Jesus Christ and serving Him.