In this issue we unveil the real causes and the solution to the most harmful social and health crisis facing the world today.
EACH YEAR millions slide down the slippery slope of alcohol and drug abuse into addiction, illness, crime and death. In the United States alone, 10 to 12 million men and women — and their loved ones and families are crippled by the ravages of alcoholism. Additional millions abuse alcohol at immense cost in health and in lost productivity. In Canada, it is said, "Alcohol increases business — for hospitals, ambulance drivers, doctors, nurses, undertakers and grave diggers" (E.C. McKenzie). Alcohol abuse, heroin and other dangerous drugs have swept through Europe like a brushfire. Soviet culture, too, is paying enormous social and economic costs. Developing nations are plagued with drug problems — both ancient and modern. In this part of the world hundreds of millions crave addicting agents to ease their miseries and problems in life. These methods of coping are unhealthy solutions! It is time we understood why — and found the way out of today's greatest social plague besetting this supposedly enlightened 20th century.
Why this worldwide failure? Why do millions around the world not possess the emotional and physical resources to cope with human problems and difficulties? Why do so many turn to drugs or alcohol as solutions to life's problems? Why do so many experiment with potent pills, powders or chemicals to cope with boredom or to find excitement in life? It doesn't matter whether nations are materially prosperous or poverty stricken. It doesn't matter what their economic system or political ideology. Or their religion or lack of it. The fact is, governments East and West, educational systems primitive and modern, and major religions have all failed to stem the tide of drug and alcohol abuse! Isn't it time we understood why? Something is missing in the cultures, values and knowledge of all nations today. Instead of being taught to look for and deal with true causes of human problems, millions have been educated — literally conditioned by their cultures to look to drugs and chemicals to solve almost every problem. Drugs and alcohol are never real or lasting solutions to human emotional problems. Certain medical drugs and painkillers may serve at times to save human lives, but they are not the solution to most personal and emotional problems. Chemical shortcuts to cope with personal anxieties and difficulties may seem to give temporary relief from suffering or distress. But if persisted in, their side effects result in serious — sometimes irreversible — physical, mental or emotional penalties. Many drugs temporarily allow one to avoid facing and dealing with the true causes of problems. The drug-taking, in turn, only creates additional serious problems.
The Real Drug Connections
Drugs made from vegetative sources have been with man from earliest recorded history. But with the 20th century, revolutionary human developments opened the way for the modern drug abuse explosion. The modern drug explosion was fueled by the rapid development of the pharmaceutical industry, by international communications and travel, by growing prosperity in many nations. And by massive population migrations to cities. Cultural constraints that once limited traditional drug usage in developing nations have dramatically broken down under the impact of more permissive Western influences. After World War II, fiercely competitive pharmaceutical companies spent heavily to develop and promote new "wonder" drugs to capture world markets. Drug industry advertising taught millions to equate feeling well and healthy with the taking of pills and drugs. Alcohol industry advertising equates drinking with success for both men and women. Unfortunately these advertisements tell only the temporary "benefits," not the ugly side effects that can occur with many drugs, or with misuse of alcohol. Usually it is only doctors who (sometimes) have advance knowledge of these. Harried doctors, however, often allow themselves to fall into the habit of prescribing potent drugs as an easy way to treat patients. With mounting case loads of (in reality, largely emotionally induced) illnesses, many physicians spend only a few minutes with each patient. Medical men admit it is easier and more economical to reach for the prescription pad instead of taking the time-consuming step of determining the root cause of their patients' anxieties or wrong living habits. Patients are also culpable for modern drug abuse trends. Many are not looking for the cause of their problems. They have come to believe it is their right to receive immediate relief from whatever problems — mental or physical plague them. They don't want to change wrong habits of thinking or living. The Physicians' Desk Reference lists more than 2,500 medical drugs on the market. Is it any wonder modern nations are drug-inundated cultures? Each new generation growing up in this environment is more conditioned than the one before it to expect chemical solutions for whatever bothers them.
Why the Surprise?
During the 1960s and 1970s, the public and media in Western (even some developing) nations were shocked at the drug explosion in youth culture. They shouldn't have been. What the adult establishment overlooked was the chemical explosion in their own ranks since World War II. Nobody, it seems, foresaw the consequences of Mr. and Mrs. Average Citizen trying to cope with the frustrations and problems of living by reaching for bottles of alcohol, or gulping loads of pep pills, sedatives, tranquilizers or barbiturates. Millions don't look on cigarette smoking as a classical example of drug addiction (for most smokers). But it is! It is a culturally accepted addiction to nicotine (and possibly other tobacco substances) as surely as a junkie is addicted to heroin or some other enslaving drug. Many adults — particularly in the family unit — refused to see how their example in coping with problems, by smoking and using alcohol and drugs, conditioned the younger generation to experiment with pot and other potent licit and illicit drugs. Young people's faith in drugs to deal with problems and needs in life was preconditioned by wide scale parental and cultural practices. In a drug inundated environment, peer pressure adds tremendous impetus to experiment further. Today's international drug smuggling networks with their army of illicit drug pushers could not exist except that millions of citizens were preconditioned by culture to seek in drugs escape, thrills and solutions to every problem.
Now health officials are facing a relatively new and dangerous drug problem: multi-drug addiction. Doctors are seeing more and more patients, and at younger ages, addicted to both alcohol and drugs or combinations of drugs. Millions of individuals at ever younger ages are playing this dangerous game of chemical roulette with their minds and bodies. The death and the harm from alcohol and drug abuse are not occurring only in the dropouts of society as was common a generation ago. They are occurring on a massive scale in the mainstream of society! Uppers and downers are now staples in the diet of many trying to cope with life's problems. Some try to shake abuse of alcohol by turning to drugs. Others try to shake abuse of drugs by turning to alcohol. Both are still trapped in a drug-dependent syndrome and are failing to deal with the causes of their problems. One American doctor said, "If the public knew the real danger of the chemicals they ingested, they'd probably never take another pill in their lives."
You, Too, Can Find a Better Solution
Wouldn't it be so much better if, as much as possible, you could cope with your emotional problems without the costs and side effects of drugs or alcohol? Perhaps there are things you are overlooking, physical and spiritual, that will help in finding solutions to, or coping with, your problems. Has life become dull or lost meaning and purpose for you? Have you failed to find the joys of hope and peace of mind in life? Have you assumed there is no other hope or alternative but mind-altering drugs or alcohol to cope with your problems, anxieties and fears? Purposelessness, hopelessness, boredom, anxiety, despair and fear all have a cause. The cause is broken laws — broken spiritual and/ or physical laws. Governments, educational systems and religions have not taught the spiritual laws and the way of life that would produce understanding of human problems, that would produce solutions and bring peace, hope and happiness of mind. The Creator put humans on earth for an awesome Purpose — to develop God's supreme creation — character! God created immutable spiritual, as well as physical, laws to produce in mortal human beings the happiness, the wholesome excitement, hope and peace of mind that we are all looking for. These revealed spiritual laws provide a way of life that is up building and that leads finally to eternal life. When we break these spiritual laws we reap automatic penalties — anxiety, depression, fear, purposelessness, lust, hate, strife, guilt. Millions don't realize their suffering is the consequence of their breaking spiritual law. Chemical crutches will never solve spiritual problems! Pain and suffering were intended to be physical warning signals that something needs to be changed or avoided. In biblical terms this change means repentance — turning from wrong ways of living to right ways, from the way of self-seeking to the way of sharing and giving to others. Too many feel they must avoid all pain and suffering while they go on doing the things that cause pain and suffering. They focus on alleviation of symptoms of distress — while they live the same self-centered way they have always lived. What a tragedy that neither education nor science nor the religions of this world have taught people they must seek first to understand the real causes of their problems and then quit doing them.
Power to Help
You can — if you will repent of violating God's revealed spiritual laws (sin is the transgression of God's law I John 3:4) — ask God for his help to solve your problems and fears. You can ask for spiritual understanding, for wisdom, for loving attitudes and strength that only God can provide. God works with humans through his Holy Spirit. Through his Spirit God gives the help, love, hope and strength needed to resolve problems. But if humans stubbornly persist in going their own way, in doing selfish, self-centered things, they remain cut off from the help that God alone can provide the alcoholic or the addict. The Creator says: "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear... [Therefore] we grope for the wall like The blind..." (Isa. 59:1-2, 10). A whole generation of misguided humans seeks false chemical tranquility because they don't have — or will not look for — the spiritual tranquility and hope that is available. The Creator doesn't want you carelessly numbing or dwarfing your human spirit, your abilities and health by abuse of chemicals. If you are ensnared in the drug trap, it is time you learned to solve your personal problems through available human help and through contact with God, rather than escaping in drugs or alcohol. "Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God" (Psa. 146:5). Find the right solutions to your problems by eliminating the causes — and you will be on the road to real fulfillment and genuine joy and happiness.