Addiction is a growing problem in our nation. Addiction is defined as the compulsive use of a substance or behavior, despite the harmful consequences to the user. Addiction affects not only the individual person; it is also damaging to families, relationships and careers.
Over 20 million people in America have an addiction. That’s 1 out of every 13. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that we spend over $740 billion dollars each year due to crime, lost work productivity and healthcare related to tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug use. It affects every community and every demographic.
Most addictions produce a similar pattern of behaviors. If you suspect a loved one is struggling with addiction, look out for changes in mood and irritability, secretive behavior, poor performance in school or work, and disinterest in previously enjoyed activities. Drastic changes in eating or sleeping habits, or sudden changes in friends can also point to substance abuse and addiction.
Last year, 52,000 people died from an opioid overdose. That’s 142 every day. A large portion of these deaths are linked to prescription painkillers, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. Many of these pills that are sold for a high were stolen from a legitimate source such as a family member’s bathroom cabinet. Keep any prescriptions secured from children and guests in your home.
Illicit drugs are illegal substances used for non-medical purposes. On the street, their potency can vary. It is nearly impossible to detect their strength or if they have been laced with something else, like fentanyl. Fentanyl is extremely potent – 50x more so than heroin. It is increasingly being added to other drugs to give them a kick – with lethal results.
Jordan was a good kid. He suffered an injury in college that required surgery, and got hooked on the painkillers. Soon he was shopping on the streets for pills and stealing to afford them. His life was spiraling out of control. He needed help. He spent 12 months with Teen Challenge, where God healed him and restored him.