One of the consequences of our culture’s rejection of God and Christian teachings is that people are looking for other ways to deal with life’s stresses. The National Institutes of Health’s annual survey shows rapidly increasing drug use in the United States.
In 2011, 29% of those ages 19 to 30 used marijuana 20 or more times in the preceding year, and 6% said they were daily users. In 2021, 43% had used marijuana 20 or more times in the past year, and 11% indicated they were daily users. In 2011, 3% said they used psychedelics such as magic mushrooms or LSD, and that number is now 8%. Data also shows a significant increase in vaping and alcoholic drinks mixed with THC.
The increasing legalization of marijuana is part of the cause for rapidly increasing drug use. In that case, these numbers should quickly grow in the next year as marijuana legalization continues to expand. This is a complex issue because we don’t know the long-term consequences of using marijuana and the chemicals derived from it.
The Christian concept of the body as the dwelling place of the Spirit of God means that Christians should take care of the body. Recreational drugs have no value for the well-being of the physical body but can have value in particular situations. Proverbs 31 states the wisdom of leaders not drinking but suggests using strong drink to help at the time of death. “Give strong drink to him who is ready to perish and wine to those that be of heavy hearts. Let them drink and forget their poverty and misery” (Proverbs 31:4-7). In 1 Timothy 5:23, Paul tells Timothy not to drink the contaminated water prevalent in that day but use a little wine to avoid illnesses from the water.
James 5 encourages Christians to rely on each other and on God to handle life’s challenges. Using drugs as a social lubricant or an antidepressant will have long-term negative consequences. We are only beginning to see the collateral damage of rapidly increasing drug use in the world around us.
— John N. Clayton © 2022
Reference: National Institutes of Health