United States (MNN) — Research has come out which suggests the drug crisis, specifically the opioid crisis in the United States, may finally be improving. In January, USA Today reported that for the first time in 23 years, the U.S. may not have seen an increase in overdose deaths, provided data from 2018 holds up.
But even if the data is proven reliable, the opioid epidemic is far from over.
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each day an average of 130 people die from an opioid overdose in the U.S. There are a lot of questions as to why drugs like opioids with highly addictive qualities have been allowed on the market. Btu whatever the reason, in 2017, there were over 70,000 drug overdose deaths. At least 68 percent of those deaths involved an opioid.
Dean Vander Mey is the Executive Director of Set Free Ministries, a non-profit ministry dedicated to setting people free spiritually. Vander May says in 2017, more people died from drug overdoses than Americans died in the Vietnam war.
“We’re starting to find out that there’s huge problems with these numbing agents and these numbing agents have a huge risk and that really hasn’t been talked about too much. Now we have ourselves an epidemic that’s starting to show up in also suicide rates,” Vander Mey says.
Per the Addiction Center, opioid addiction is the one addiction most likely to result in suicide. In fact, the likelihood of suicidal thought increases from 40 to 60 percent with opioid use. This type of epidemic seemingly reveals a deep ache in this society.
“Jesus says, I’ve come to heal the broken heart, I’ve come to open the eyes of the blind, and to release the oppressed,” Vander Mey says.
A Christian Response
As Christians, how can we step up to help end the opioid epidemic in the U.S.? Set Free suggests encouraging people to take a spiritual look at what is happening in their lives. Encourage people to…
“Reach out to God. He’s your creator…He’s the one that created you in your mother’s womb. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You have meaning and purpose. He has good plans for you to do good things with your life. He wants to prosper you…Cry out to God. But then also don’t isolate [yourself]. Reach out to somebody else that can help you and say “I need help”,” Vander Mey says.
And always pray. Ask God to reach into people’s lives and reveal himself to them and His love for them. Pray God would help people struggling with drug addiction to recover and build a life which is founded on Him. Also, pray for the families whose loved ones have or currently are struggling with drug addiction. Finally, pray for the opioid epidemic in the U.S. to end.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with opioid addiction or suicidal thoughts, consider contacting Set Free Ministries here or by calling (616) 726-5400.
Header photo courtesy of Haley Lawrence via Unsplash.