The current status of addiction: Much worse than thought! | Eastern North Carolina Now

Addiction is not just a physical issue, it is also deeply spiritual


By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
June 7, 2024

“A multi-drug crisis centered on fentanyl often paired with other illicit drugs” that directly affects nearly 50 million Americans and untold numbers of their loved ones — that’s how an article released by Axios Health late last month described the current status of addiction in the United States.

Drug overdose deaths, which now kill nearly twice as many Americans each year than died in the Vietnam War, are the tip of the iceberg, the article shows. Alcohol addiction kills even more.

A federal survey in 2022 showed that more than 17 percent of Americans 12 and older had a substance abuse disorder. When you shift the age bracket to 18-25, the ratio of addiction is more than one in four. “The addiction crisis in our nation is severe. An intoxicated or drug-addled society is unsustainable. This is why the matter is of the utmost importance and not some secondary issue,” says the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “History shows that nations have fallen due to substance abuse. For instance, Cyrus the Great of Persia once defeated an enemy by leaving behind food and wine. The enemy overindulged, got drunk, and was easily defeated when Cyrus returned. Centuries later, the Saracens included a prohibition against intoxicants in the Koran to combat the problem of alcohol.”

The Bible is clear that abusing alcohol and drugs is a sin, Creech explains, but once someone becomes addicted, he said their will is overpowered by the substances, leading to severe illness.

“At this stage, they cannot simply ‘shape up’ any more than someone falling from a high-rise building can avoid injury mid-fall. They need rescuing,” Creech says.

He said addiction is not just a physical issue, it is also deeply spiritual.

“Defining it merely as a disease overlooks its full impact. Humans are triune beings with physical, mental, and spiritual dimensions, and addiction affects all these aspects. Without recognizing this, recovery is unlikely,” Creech added.

According to the 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 48.7 million people 12 or older had a substance use disorder (SUD) in the past year, including more than 29 million with alcohol use disorder, more than 27 million with drug use disorder, and 8 million people who had both. Add to that the fact that nearly 22 million adults dealing with addiction that year also suffered from mental illness.

“Substance abuse and mental illness often feed off of one another,” pointed out Axios writer Caitlin Owens. Statistics show that almost half of adults ages 18 to 25 had either a mental illness or a substance use disorder.

And just in case those numbers are not harrowing enough, Axios also reports that more than 320,000 children lost their mom or dad to drug overdose in the decade ending in 2021, no doubt creating childhood trauma. And childhood trauma is one of the main risk factors for becoming an addict later in life, showing the potential for addiction to rise exponentially across generations.

Creech said Christians must address addiction and that it provides a crucial opportunity for them to share the redeeming message of Christ.

“Many churches now offer recovery ministries, which is a positive step, but more is needed,” he said. “Christians should also urge their North Carolina legislators to stop making alcohol more accessible and to resist legalizing marijuana, as these actions only contribute to further substance abuse.”

Catch the latest state news on alcohol issues here and marijuana here.

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