Drug Abuse—There Is an Answer!
“HUGE Cocaine Haul Found in Wine Bottles.” The newspaper article following that headline explained how police in Johannesburg, South Africa, seized a shipping container of 11,600 bottles of South American wine. Mixed in the wine were between 150 and 180 kilograms of cocaine. This was believed to be the largest haul of cocaine to have entered the country to date.
While such finds sound encouraging, the truth is that police seize only an estimated 10 to 15 percent of illegal drugs worldwide. Unfortunately, this is similar to a gardener snipping a few leaves off a virulent weed but leaving the roots in the ground.
The huge profits made from drugs hamper government efforts to curb their production and sale. In the United States alone, the estimated annual illegal drug market is many billions of dollars. With such big money at stake, it is not surprising that police and government officials, even some in high positions, are susceptible to corruption.
Alex Bellos of The Guardian Weekly newspaper reported from Brazil that according to a parliamentary inquiry, “three congressmen, 12 state deputies and three mayors were named . . . in a list of more than 800 people allegedly involved in organised crime and drugs trafficking in Brazil.” The list also included “policemen, lawyers, businesspeople and farmers in 17 of the 27 states.” About these findings a professor of politics at Brasília University said: “It’s a massive indictment of all sections of Brazilian society.” The same might be said of many societies where drugs have a pervasive hold. The market laws of supply and demand are what drive the problem.
Considering the limited success of legal restrictions, some advocate legalizing certain drugs. The general concept is that individuals should be allowed to possess small amounts for personal use. It is felt that this would make government control easier and would cut the huge profits made by drug lords.
Detoxification may first get addicts off drugs and then improve their physical health. Unfortunately, the chances are that once an addict returns to his usual environment, he will be tempted to return to drugs. Writer Luigi Zoja gives the reason for this: “It is impossible to simply eliminate a behavior without redirecting the patient towards a completely new dimension.”
Darren, mentioned in the preceding article, found a “new dimension” that changed his life. He explains: “I was a professed atheist, but in time, even though I was on drugs from morning till night, I came to the realization that there must be a God. During a period of two or three months, I tried to break free from drugs, but my friends would not let me refuse them. Although I still took drugs, I started to read the Bible regularly before I went to bed. I associated with my friends less often. One evening my roommate and I were very high on drugs. I mentioned the Bible to him. The next morning he phoned his brother, who was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. He referred us to a Witness who was living in the same city as we were, and I went to see him.
“We talked until 11:00 p.m., and I left with about a dozen Bible study aids. I started to study the Bible with him and stopped abusing drugs and smoking. About nine months later, I was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
Breaking the drug habit is not easy. Michael, mentioned in the preceding article, reveals the difficulties he had when he stopped taking drugs after 11 years of abuse: “I found it very difficult to eat and thus lost weight. I also experienced sensations of pins and needles, had sweats, and saw auras around people. I felt a tremendous craving to return to drugs, but drawing close to Jehovah in prayer and studying the Bible helped me to stay clean.” These former drug abusers agree that it was essential for them to break away totally from their former associates.
Why Human Efforts Fail
Illicit drug abuse is just one facet of a larger global problem. An overwhelming influence for evil, violence, and cruelty grips the whole world. The Bible says: “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) That “wicked one” is identified by the apostle John at Revelation 12:9: “So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him.”
In addition to his own weaknesses, man has had to contend with this powerful enemy. Satan is the one who caused man’s downfall at the start. He is determined to bring further degradation on mankind and to turn them away from God. Mankind’s abuse of drugs appears to be a part of his strategy. He is acting with great anger because he knows that “he has a short period of time.”—Revelation 12:12.
What Is God’s Solution?
The Bible reveals the Creator’s loving provision to redeem mankind from their sinful condition. At 1 Corinthians 15:22, we are told: “Just as in Adam all are dying, so also in the Christ all will be made alive.” Jesus willingly came to earth as a perfect human and sacrificed his earthly life to redeem mankind from the effects of sin and death.
Knowing the reason for death as well as the solution to man’s problems has given many the motivation and courage to break free from drug addiction. But the Bible does more than help us deal individually with the drug problem now. It tells of the time, after the termination of Satan’s influence, when all the world’s ills, including drug abuse, will end permanently.
The book of Revelation describes “a river of water of life, clear as crystal, flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” (Revelation 22:1) This symbolic river pictures God’s provision through Jesus Christ to restore man to perfect life on a paradise earth. Revelation describes trees of life flourishing along the river and states: “The leaves of the trees were for the curing of the nations.” (Revelation 22:2) Those symbolic leaves picture Jehovah’s curative provisions to restore mankind to spiritual and physical perfection.
At last, man will be free, not only from drug abuse but also from all the other ills and problems that plague him in this degraded system!
[Box/Picture on page 9]
How Safe Is Marijuana?
A number of countries are considering legalizing marijuana, mainly for medicinal use. The drug has been found to alleviate the nausea caused by chemotherapy, and it evidently helps AIDS sufferers to overcome loss of appetite. It has also been used as a pain reliever.
While there is disagreement about the results of research findings, tests that were reported on in New Scientist magazine have established some of the harmful effects of marijuana.
A Harvard University test compared a group who smoked marijuana daily with a group who used it less often. They found little difference on standard mental tests. However, on one test dealing with adaptability, the heavy marijuana users scored much lower.
Another university tested a group of regular marijuana smokers and a group of cigarette smokers, over a period of 15 years. The marijuana smokers usually had three or four joints a day, while the cigarette smokers had 20 or more cigarettes a day. Equal numbers from both groups suffered from coughing and bronchitis. Examination of the lungs revealed similar cell damage in both groups.
Although the marijuana smokers indulged much less often, it was found that a single joint releases three times as much tar as a cigarette. Furthermore, New Scientist reported: “Marijuana smokers inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer.”
In addition, immune cells from the lungs of the marijuana smokers were found to be 35 percent less capable of fighting bacteria than were cells from the cigarette smokers.
U.S. Navy photo
[Box on page 11]
“A Painful Indictment” of Parents
An editorial in the South African newspaper Saturday Star expressed concern over the alarming increase in drug abuse among youth in South Africa and commented:
“That our children do this [take drugs] is often a painful indictment of us as parents and of society in general. Week in and week out we grub for money, worshipping at the temple of material success. Our kids tax our minds, our strength. Quality time? It’s easy to throw money at them to get them out of our hair. Easier than listening to them—to their fears, their hopes, their hassles. Tonight, as we sit at a restaurant table or relax in front of the TV, will we even know what they’re doing?”
Or, we might add, thinking?
[Picture on page 10]
Many have been motivated to break free from drug abuse