According to the University of Michigan’s Department of Psychiatry, COVID-19 related social isolation and stress can increase susceptibility to substance misuse, addiction, and relapse. Substance abuse use can lead to immune system, respiratory, and pulmonary changes and may increase susceptibility to COVID-19 as well as complications.
According to recent data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 81,000 people in the United States died of a drug overdose between May 2019 and May 2020. The number of overdose deaths accelerated significantly during the pandemic, resulting in the largest monthly increases documented since provisional data calculations began in 2015.
While synthetic opioids, such as illicit fentanyl, continue to be the primary cause of these deaths, there has also been an alarming increase in the number of deaths involving illicit stimulants, particularly methamphetamine. Overdose deaths connected to meth increased almost 35 percent in 2020, exceeding the number of cocaine-related deaths.
Addiction in America is an ever increasing national crisis!
Not only is substance abuse America’s number one health problem, the devastation of alcoholism and other drug addiction has impacted families and communities worldwide. Substance abuse has been directly linked to violence and sexual immorality and is a major source of income for organized crime and terrorist activities.
For a personal interview with “Just Pray NO!” Founder and Author Steven L. Sherman, in the U.S.A. call: (727) 647-6467 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
When Celebrities Overdose, Millions Mourn
We are well aware that a number of celebrities such as singing legend Elvis Presley, comedian John Belushi and football athlete “high tower” Bubba Smith died premature deaths from drugs. When these and other icons such as the “king of pop” Michael Jackson, model Anna Nicole Smith, and actor Heath Ledger each died from drug overdose, millions of people from around the world read the story in their local newspapers and national magazines, heard the tragic news on their radios, and watched the events unfold on television.
In spite of their popularity, fortune, fame and worldly success – their lives were cut short by drug overdose. But tragically, many of their fans and admirers did not heed the wake-up call!
We Are Losing the War on Drugs
The United States has spent over 1 trillion dollars since President Richard Nixon declared the “War on Drugs” four decades ago.
Although arrest rates have increased by 1000% in the last 20 years, 1 out of 10 Americans are still using illegal drugs.
More and More People Are Dying from Drug Overdose
In the United States alone, Drug overdose rates have more than tripled since 1990! People are not only dying from illegal drugs but are overdosing on prescription medications at an alarming rate.
The Worldwide Addiction Epidemic
The Addiction Epidemic is not limited to the Western Nations. There are literally billions of people around the world addicted to drugs including cannabis, amphetamines, the opiates and cocaine.
The Physical, Emotional and Mental Devastation of Addiction
Over the course of time, alcoholism and other drug addiction destroy an individual – both body and soul. Not only is substance abuse America’s number one health problem, the devastation of alcoholism and other drug addiction impacts the abuser’s family and community as well.
How Can We Make a Difference?
What can we do to turn the tide? How can any individual make a difference?
First of all, we must recognize who or what we are fighting:
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12
Drug abuse is not just a physical addiction or a biological or chemical problem – it is a spiritual stronghold. Pharmakeia is a word found three times in the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. It is the root word from which we get our English word pharmacy or pharmacist. Pharmakeia is translated as witchcraft or sorcery. It speaks of the occult magical arts which are often found in connection with idolatry. Drug and alcohol abuse like witchcraft, are powerful, demonic strongholds.
Secondly, we must know how the battle is fought:
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 2 Corinthians 10:4
To break the bondage and tear down the strongholds of addiction, we need to pray for the addicted so that they will come to the end of themselves and seek God.
Just Pray NO! 23rd Annual Worldwide Weekend of Prayer and Fasting
The weekend of April 6 – April 7, 2013 has been designated as the 23rd Annual “Just Pray NO!” to drugs Worldwide Weekend of Prayer and Fasting. Since April 7th, 1991 “Just Pray NO!” has united millions of Christians from around the world in intercessory prayer on behalf of the addicted and their families.
To learn how you or your Bible study group or church can participate in our annual prayer event click here: “Just Pray NO! Prayer Weekend
Please take 5 minutes to view this important video and then share this link with your friends.
Whether a fatality is caused by accidental overdose of illegal drugs or abusing pharmaceuticals, the impact is much more than a matter of statistics!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 100 people in the United States die from drug overdose every day. Drug overdose death rates in the U.S. have more than tripled since 1990. (Source – http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/rxbrief/)
The horrible irony is that more and more people seeking relief from pain are becoming addicted to prescription painkillers. Whether overdose is caused by OxyContin ®, Vicodin ®, Percocet ®or any other opiate – too often the person seeking relief from their pain – is killed by their painkiller.
The tragic loss of a close friend or family member to a narcotic overdose is not just another statistic, but can be devastating emotionally and mentally to those grieving the loss.
Dealing with the loss of an addicted friend or family member from drug overdose may be additionally difficult because of unnecessary guilt or shame carried by the mourner. They may feel guilty that they did not recognize, or were in denial, of the signs of addiction such as: mood swings, deterioration of personal grooming habits, a drop in performance at school or work, suspicious behavior, money missing, etc. They may blame themselves and anguish over what they could have done or shouldn’t have done that could have prevented the loss of their loved one. Grief stricken family members often require individual professional counseling and/or a bereavement support group in order to find help and healing.
Often a person who is suffering the loss of their friend or family member can find some comfort and even joy by focusing on the “good times” they had together. These memories can help them to carry on with their daily lives as they make it through day by day.
“Carry On” is a beautiful and sweet song written by Heath Lanzillotti and sung by Vonabell Sherman that pays tribute to the one we may have lost and enables us to carry on.
For those of you seeking comfort and a peace that surpasses understanding, you need a relationship with the God of All Comfort.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:2-4
Establish a relationship with the LORD God, Creator of the heavens and the earth, and find forgiveness and freedom by praying the following prayer or a similar prayer in your own words:
“Lord Jesus Christ,
I know that I am a sinner and there is nothing that I can do to earn my way to heaven. Although I deserve God’s wrath, by God’s mercy, I accept your free gift of eternal life by faith. I believe that You were born of a virgin and died on the cross to pay the price of my sins. I believe you were buried, rose again on the third day, have ascended into heaven, and will soon come again.
Lord, please forgive me of my sins, come into my heart and take control of my life.” AMEN
If you sincerely prayed this prayer, then you have just made a decision by faith, to accept the free gift (God’s grace) of the substitutionary sacrifice of the Messiah (the Christ), whose suffering and death paid the price of your sins. You have been born again. As a new born, you need to be nourished.
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38
In order to grow and mature spiritually you need to:
•Be baptized into Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ)
•Speak to God each day through prayer. (Pray each day in the name of Yeshua/Jesus).
•Read your Bible every day. When you read the Bible, God speaks to you through His Word. (If you don’t own a Bible, then we will help you get one.)
•Find a Bible believing church and attend regularly – both worship services and a Bible study.
•Share with someone what God has done for you.
We have a variety of resources for you on our website such as:
Biblical Insights into Combating Addiction, Teachings on Prayer and Fasting, links to Christian resources for the addicted: Find Help, Healing Scriptures and information on our Annual Weekend of Prayer event.