The face of the addict is changing in America. It’s now businessmen, teachers, nurses, doctors and soccer moms. And it could well be the person you sit by in church or the one facing you in the mirror each morning. In fact, prescription drug abuse is now at epidemic proportions according to the Centers for Disease Control and involves taking a prescription medication that isn’t yours or taking your own prescription in a way that differs from your doctor’s instructions.
Here are some startling statistics: (National Survey on Drug Use and Health)
52 million people in the U.S. over the age of 12 have used prescription drugs for non-medical uses
Prescription drug abuse rates are highest during the teens and 20s, although rates are increasing among those in their 50s ("baby boomers").
Nearly 48,000 women died of prescription painkiller overdoses between 1999 and 2010 (about 18 per day)
About 21.5 million people in 2014 had a substance abuse disorder
Pain killers, tranquilizers and stimulants are the most commonly abused prescription drugs
Opioid misuse/abuse is responsible for about 75% of overdose-related deaths. That's more than any other prescription or illegal drug.
It’s time to open our eyes to the realities around us and see that addiction is no longer confined to the derelict in the alley. Addicts are now in mainstream America and in the pews of our churches. The need for ministry to these people is critical. Some, especially those who misuse pain killers and tranquilizers, may have slipped into addiction innocently enough. They started taking the pills and over time realized they were dependent. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, 2.1 million people are hooked on opioids alone. These drugs include Lortab, Vicodin, Percocet and OxyContin. Mixing of alcohol with these and other drugs such as Xanax and Ativan intensifies their effects and can depress breathing, leading to coma and death.
Recognizing the signs of prescription drug abuse in ourselves and in those we love is the first step toward recovery. Here are some of the symptoms of drug abuse:
Changes in sleep, mood, appetite, weight, behavior and personality
The tendency to isolate oneself from friends and family
Sudden difficulties at work or at school
Unusual emotional outbursts, lack of motivation and engaging in suspicious behavior
Celebrate Recovery was begun in 1991 by Pastor John Baker, an associate pastor at Saddleback Church. Unlike Alcoholics Anonymous and other secular recovery groups, Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered program to help people overcome hurts, hang-ups and addictions. It is based on the Word of God rather than on psychological theory. A local Celebrate Recovery ministry for women was begun three years ago at First Baptist Church Summit and the group meets each Tuesday at 5:30 in Annex 103.
The meetings are designed to be a safe-haven for those who need help to break free from the chains of addiction. The 12-step recovery program is coupled with Bible studies and the members share their own experiences in a loving, non-judgmental environment. For more information, call Janice Fortenberry at 601-341-0203.