There are many problems that ultimately can be traced back to the human heart and its desires, its needs, its wants. Food related obesity is one such problem, and 42% of this state is considered obese or morbidly obese. But that’s a post for another day. During primary season I got sick and tired of seeing campaign ads claiming— ‘we stopped drugs at the borders of Kentucky’ or we will do so if you elect us. What absolute rubbish. Really? What are you going to do? Stop every car, truck, and van at the Tennessee border and inspect it. But that still wouldn’t solve the problem. There is some effectiveness to stopping some drugs at the U.S. border, but it’s a drop in the bucket approach. The ultimate source of the problem is not the borders of our state, or the borders of country, but the borders of the human heart. And the problem gets worse with drugs that are highly addictive, such as fentanyl. Nicotine is definitely an addictive drug, but it pales in comparison to fentanyl. And I’m glad to see the recent bipartisan efforts in Congress to focus on treatment rather than criminal justice when it comes to addicts. Prosecute the pushers and drug lords all you want, but spending money on addiction recovery is far better than putting addicts in jail. But still with all such good efforts, until Americans, and in this case Kentuckians where the fentanyl crisis has reached epic proportions, have a heart change or a spiritual heart transplant, the crisis will not be over. The enemy doesn’t mainly lurk at the borders, it’s rather as Pogo said in an old comic strip— ‘I have seen the enemy, the enemy is us’. We are our own worst enemies when it comes to drugs. I am thankful for recovery centers like the local ARC center in Lexington, where the emphasis is not just on getting over the drugs, but dealing with the deeper human and spiritual and psychological problems that led to drug addiction. The leading cause of death in the age range 18-45 in America is DRUGS, and in particular fentanyl according to the 2022 government survey. And what ultimately are the causes of this: 1) poverty, 2) lack of meaningful work, or hope for a good paying job; 3) lack of education; 4) peer pressure; 5) depression and a feeling of being lost; 6) dysfunctional and abusive, and broken family relationships, and frankly a total lack of a relationship with God and God’s people. It is not an accident that as Christian belief and church attendance has declined over the last 30 years serious drug use has increased. The family and church infrastructure has been falling apart and these are interconnected problems. And a salvation experience alone is not enough. People need love and a community to stay on the right path, and avoid the all too present temptations drugs present. Our young people, while being warned off cigarettes and turned to vaping, which appears to be more addictive, not less.
What needs to happen is a major revival in this country coupled with a redoubled effort by churches to actually provide a church family to surround the needy with love and support, and hope for their personal futures. Of course other things need to happen to, like good treatment for the addicted, but I am talking about what the church can do to help deal with this massive problem. Think about these things.