In the past thirty days, three people that I know lost their battle with drug addiction. No parent anticipates having to bury their twenty-something-year-old daughter or son, yet this scenario is played out every day in America. In fact, over 175 people die in America from an opiate overdose daily. That adds up to over 1200 people every week. Opiate addiction is nothing to play with. However, the real danger from accidental drug overdoses is the person who has successfully quit for six or more months and then relapses again. Often that person will mistakenly try to shoot-up the same amount they were using before they quit. The problem is that while they were using daily their body had built up a tolerance; so they had to keep shooting more and more to avoid the withdrawals and to receive a high. However, after not using drugs for six or more months their tolerance level had returned to normal again. When they relapse many will mistakenly think they need to shoot up the same amount they were using prior to quitting; however that amount will often cause them to overdose and die. Most of the opiate deaths are the result of an accidental overdose. They underestimated how much their body had changed after they stopped using drugs. So the first time they shoot-up again ends up being their last time.
Many of the people I see started out taking pain pills for a legitimate medical problem but ended up abusing the medications in the end. When they can no longer get their supply from their doctor they turn to the street to buy them. Before long they change from pills, which are measured and predictable, but expensive; to heroin which varies in strength from week to week, but is much cheaper than prescription pain pills. Street heroin can end up being anywhere from 5 to 50 times stronger then the pain pills the addict was accustomed to using. When I was in my early twenties I would usually let one of my friends shoot up first, especially when we had a new batch of drugs. If that person didn’t go into convulsions, seizures, or become unresponsive I would then shoot-up. I know that I avoided a hospital visit or possible death by not going first.
Three months ago a guy came into my office after receiving a DUI. His probation officer sent him to me for counseling. The first few times we met he was continuing to drink. He had switched from vodka to beer thinking he could handle it better. It took about four more weeks for him to see that he was playing with fire. He leveled with me that he enjoyed drinking and didn’t want to quit. About six weeks ago I had the privilege of leading him to faith in Christ. He has been sober since then and recently admitted that he no longer has any desire to drink alcohol. My job is so much easier when God touches someone and changes them from the inside-out. I covet your prayers as I minister to hurting people. If God doesn’t intervene I sometimes get the feeling that I am simply spinning my wheels. I ask you to pray that the power of the Gospel touches everyone coming to Hope Ministries for help. Many people when they first come are not ready, and only Christ can make them ready. That is why we ask you to hold us up in prayer as we minister to hurting people.
In His service,
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