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Our greatest enemy.

OUR GREATEST ENEMY

The horror stories are everywhere. Weall know, often firsthand, of the ten-year-old city dweller hooked on heroin and now fighting desperately for his life. We know of the affluent, suburban teen-ager caught in the clutches of cocaine and slipping from a life of promise to hopeless combat with the cycles of addiction. We know of the heartbreakingly defective children born to drug-abusing parents. We know of the suicides, the coma deaths, the murders.

What are we going to do aboutAmerica's drug problem--or the world's, for that matter? The Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration reports that cocaine has emerged as a major public health threat. Dr. Donald Ian Macdonald, the head of the federal agency, says that, for years, "people thought cocaine was harmless--a so-called 'recreational drug.'" But now, he says, "we know the trut: Cocaine can be a killer." It is one of the most powerfully addictive drugs known, he declares. And yet people, especially so many of our bright, sophisticated young adults, see cocaine use as something quite smart and fashionable.

And cocaine accounts for only apart of the problem. Americans spend $110 billion a year on drugs, more than they do on all religions, relief, and philanthropic activities combined. Four years ago, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40 percent of Americans aged 18 to 25 had experimented with at least one illicit substance. And the figure is certainly higher today. The rise is supported by a sad fact reported in a recent U.S. News & World Report: "...7 of 13 major drug-producing nations [have] boosted their output of marijuana, coca [cocaine] and opium-poppy crops.... This year, desite an American expenditure of $1.2 billion to combat the drug trade, marijuana and heroin imports are expected to jump 10 percent and cocaine 4 percent." The destruction of human beings is a booming business.

Not only the poor, the uneducated,the deprived, or the shadowy types are being destroyed. We're dealing with the privileged, the successful, the professional. A spokesman at the State of New York Division of Substance Abuse Services in New York City says: "It's not just the criminal element that's using drugs. We have doctors, lawyers, nurses, and so on coming into our offices for help. In the past, tests were geared toward social pathology, but that idea doesn't hold up."

When are we going to get the message? Wehave a national health crisi on our hands. If cocaine use alone produces such a national problem, just think what we have when we add heroin, LSD, amphetamines, and the multiple variations.

Of course, we're not alone. Britainreports drug use to be "the most serious peacetime threat to our national well-being." The French, the Italians, and the Canadians report similar concerns. And on top of all this, there's alcoholism in almost every nation.

If man had properly fulfilledhis responsibilities to understand and master Creation, he would govern an ever thriving, flourishing, growing world. But, failing in his responsibilities, man lost control of his environment; he has fallen under its domination, including the domination of the vegetation that produces drugs. This principle of fulfilling responsibilities has been described by Pat Robertson, in his book The Secret Kingdom, as the "fundamental law for the growth and development--or the decline--of all organizations and societies.... Beginning with the cradle, it touches everything--child development, intellectual development, professional development, physical development, social development, and on and on."

Man's loss of control over his environmenthas made him afraid--of God, of himself, of other men, of Creation. That fear is probably the root cause of the world's drug crisis. It starts in the spirit and spreads quickly into the physical realm. And though this fear is an individual matter in the beginning, it takes on a collective force that exceeds the sum of the fears taken individually. The collective, intertwined fear in the world is monstrous.

One significant part of the result isisolation, lienation, separateness within the individual. And individuals are desperately afraid, lonely, and out of control--taking drugs.

An all-out assault on this scourge isrequired. I belive it must start in the family and in the church. We have been wrecking families and emasculating the church. That must stop. In addition, this assault on drugs will require concentrated effort by all segments of society, including the government, for our solutions. The framers of the Constitution would have required federal intervention in the drug crisis, if for no other than national-security reasons. In other words, because of the threat to our national well-being, the federal government must be willing to take even stronger measures than it has to date to stop drug traffic into and within the United States.

Prime Minister MargaretThatcher has warned drug pushers in Britain: "We are after you. The pursuit will be relentless." Then she adds, "We shall make [your] life not worth living."

Our attitude should be thesame. This country has fought organized crime with vigor, especially in drug trafficking, but it must strengthen the attack. The total federal expenditure to fight drug abuse and traffic in 1985 was $1.5 billion. That may not be enough.

But remember--parents, pastors,educators, physicians--law enforcement is not enough. This is war.
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Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:drugs become major health problem
Author:Slosser, Bob
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Apr 1, 1986
Words:866
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