- Posted by Editor
- On June 11, 2019
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Christian youths and drug abuse
Bro. Roland E. Ogene
Drug abuse, including alcohol and prescription drugs, can induce symptoms which resembles mental illness. This can occur both in the intoxicated state and also during the withdrawal state. In some cases these substance induced psychiatric disorders can persist long after detoxification, such as prolonged psychosis or depression after amphetamine or cocaine abuse. A protracted withdrawal syndrome can also occur with symptoms persisting for months after cessation of use. Benzodiazepines are the most notable drug for inducing prolonged withdrawal effects with symptoms sometimes persisting for years after cessation of use. Abuse of hallucinogens like cannabis can trigger delusional and other psychotic phenomena long after cessation of use.
Researchers have found that daily cannabis use and the use of high-potency cannabis are independently associated with a higher chance of developing schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.
Severe anxiety and depression are commonly induced by sustained alcohol abuse, which in most cases abates with prolonged abstinence. Even sustained moderate alcohol use may increase anxiety and depression levels in some individuals. In most cases these drug induced psychiatric disorders fade away with prolonged abstinence.
Impulsivity is characterized by actions based on sudden desires, whims, or inclinations rather than careful thought. Individuals with substance abuse have higher levels of impulsivity, and individuals who use multiple drugs tend to be more impulsive. There is a hypothesis that the loss of impulse control may be due to impaired inhibitory control resulting from drug induced changes that take place in the frontal part of the brain.
Drugs were virtually nonexistent during biblical times. Thus, substances such as LSD, marijuana, heroin, Ecstasy, cocaine, methamphetamine and any number of others aren’t mentioned in Scripture. However, God makes it clear that He prohibits drunkenness (see Proverbs 23:20-21, 29-35; 1 Corinthians 5:11; 1 Peter 4:3).
Substances that compromise our minds and bodies are /should be out of bounds.
- The Bible explicitly instructs us to refrain from getting high. Scripture specifically instructs us to avoid an induced buzz. For example, the apostle Paul writes, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). The reason Paul gives for this instruction is that it leads to indulging passions without restraint, a.k.a. debauchery. He contrasts drunkenness with being filled with the Holy Spirit of God. The principle behind the passage is simply this: Stay away from stuff that will
confuse your thoughts, weaken your inhibitions and make you more vulnerable to sin. Can you think of a drug that doesn’t do all those things? Whether depressant or stimulant, psychedelic or dissociative, legal or illegal, substances that mess with your mind get a poor rap in God’s Holy book: “In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind imagine confusing things” (Proverbs 23:32-33).
- God owns our bodies and we ought to keep it in sanctification and honour to Him. In 1 Thes. 4:4 , it is written, ‘That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour.’ By subjecting our bodies to the harmful effects of substance abuse, is tantamount to saying that we own our bodies. That is rebellion against the Almighty. In Psalm 100:3, the Psalmist puts it thus, ‘Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.’ No matter how good the trip, an artificial high never really gratifies. It’s that way with drugs and all “enjoyable” sins: Their emptiness takes us away from true enjoyment in God. Jeremiah compared Israel’s search for satisfaction in sin to broken cisterns, man-made reservoirs designed to store water. “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken Me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jeremiah 2:13).
- We must avoid all types of wrong behaviors in order to grow. Drug use numbs our will to pursue God and His purposes for our lives. Paul repeatedly instructed his readers to be careful about the decisions they make. The passage immediately before his instruction not to get drunk reads, “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is” (Ephesians 5:15-17).
- God wants our thought life under His control. The way we think is central to the way we live. How we think about drugs and how drugs make us think are both vital. A drug-fogged mind keeps us from properly seeing what’s right and what’s wrong in many situations. In Proverbs 4:23, it is written, ‘Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.’
- The virtue of self-control is critical for a disciple of Christ. Self-control is one of the primary virtues of the Christian life. Christians are instructed to be in control of their decision-making processes and not enslaved to anything that erodes their ability to act in ways that are honoring to God. A clear mind – which is impossible under the influence of drugs – is crucial to self-control, which in turn affects our ability to grow as Christians. In 1 Cor. 9:24-27, Apostle Paul wrote, ‘Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.’ The danger of lacking self control is made clear in Proverbs 25:28, where is is stated, ‘ He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.’ The devil will take advantage of that situation to make the person commit all sorts of abominations.