A recent study concluded that drug use among the young people of this country is dramatically on the increase. The most alarming statistic cited is that the use of illegal drugs by children ages nine through twelve has doubled in recent years.
It seems that not only are we losing the "war on drugs" but we are losing our children. I saw a news report where a father wept openly over the death of his 16 year old son-an honor student who went to worship every Sunday -- but who overdosed on drugs.
This problem is not just an inner city problem. One public service announcement on television says that 40% of all drug use among children is by inner city children. It then asks the question, "Where do you think the other 60% is found?" The answer is obvious --- in every place big and small, in every strata of society, children are not only experimenting with illegal drugs but are using them on a regular basis including hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin.
Many factors contribute to this escalation. Some have suggested that many parents are to blame. The parents of "generation X" are those "baby- boomers" who in the 60's "tuned in, turned on, and dropped out." It is said that because of their own experimentation with and regular use of drugs they not only set a poor example for their own children but also have been hesitant to discipline them for using drugs, especially marijuana.
Others say society in general is responsible. From high governmental officials who admit their recreational use of drugs, to lawmakers and lobbyists who advocate legalizing marijuana and other such substances, children get the feeling that drug use is not that bad. I saw a program on TV that was exploring substance abuse among teens where one young girl justified her use of marijuana by saying, "It's not so bad. Like, I'm not ruining my life. President Clinton smoked it and he still became president." Movie and television celebrities speak openly of their drug use. Many musicians, and not just rock musicians, use drugs illegally and even advocate their use in songs heard on the radio and M-TV. These are the "idols" of our children.
Some children succumb because of peer pressure. They want to be popular or just "fit in" with everyone else. And never discount the "thrill of rebellion." Some just want to do what they are told not to do just so that, in addition to the "high" they get from the drug, they get the "high" of doing something they know they shouldn't do.
Don't think your children are immune to these things. A survey conducted a little over ten years ago in Leon County said that 46% of all Leon County high school seniors admitted to using marijuana; 20% acknowledged using it regularly -- before, during and after school. If our community has followed the national trend, those statistics are no longer accurate -- they are probably way too low.
The Bible condemns the abuse of body and mind (1 Cor. 6:19-20). It warns against habituation and addiction (1 Cor. 6:12). We need to be teaching our children its principles. We need to be educating them and warning them about the dangers, both physical and spiritual, in substance abuse.
We are so blessed to have so many children. Let us do all we can to keep them safe and to bring them up in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).