India (MNN) — Drug abuse is on the rise in India.
70% of young people are abusing drugs in Punjab alone, according to a report from Channel NewsAsia. The northern state sits right along the India-Pakistan border and is considered to be one of India's most progressive states.
And yet, this report states, at least one drug addict lives in more than half the rural households in Punjab.
According to a 2011 drug and crimes report from the United Nations, India was South Asia's largest consumer of heroin. DARA Rehab, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center located in Thailand, says cannabis, heroin, and opium are the most-commonly used drugs in India.
"Drug abuse and substance abuse is a huge problem among the poor classes, the uneducated classes," says Dr. David Schuringa, President of Crossroad Bible Institute (CBI).
In eastern India, the prison ministry is fighting this rising tide. CBI opened a satellite campus in Manipur in late 2012. At the time of the launch, 23 students from the men's prison were enrolled in CBI courses. CBI India has plans to expand into the women's prison and two halfway houses for recovering addicts.
"It's been very exciting to see the progress," says Schuringa.
In recent days, CBI India held a ceremony for the first 9 graduates of its discipleship program. These grads found Jesus through CBI's program and gave their lives to Him. All 9 were baptized to symbolize their new life in Christ.
"Pray that they will continue in the discipleship program. Discipleship is not completed after [being] baptized; that's just the beginning," Schuringa states.
CBI India's Director Mathotmi Vasha first heard about CBI through the director of CBI Singapore, Paul Tan. Through positive relationships with local prison authorities, Vasha and CBI India were able to gain access to the prisons.
"Singapore is highly respected in the Southeast. And so if something comes from Singapore, rather than the United States…they said, 'Oh, Singapore thinks this is good; let's give it a try!'" explains Schuringa.
"They are able to make headway, whereas if we just marched in there and said, 'We're CBI from the United States,' maybe it would be rejected as something from the West."
Pray that this positive relationship with the authorities continues. Pray also for recovering addicts who are studying CBI material at a halfway house in Manipur.
"This halfway house is another means to help people find a job, get housing, re-establish contact with their families, and gain victory over their addictions," says Schuringa.
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