Alcohol and drug addiction … they stalk the lives of people, and enslave their victims with terrible consequences. And the number of lives they ravage is on the rise.
Substance abuse in Canada
Here in Canada, substance abuse is responsible for 47,000 deaths every year! That’s a huge number, and what’s alarming is that the majority drug users are young. Statistics show that the average age when drug use begins is 15.7 years old.*
Treating substance abuse can be very expensive. According to the Canadian Centre for Drug Addiction treating or controlling teen substance abuse is quite expensive. Figures from the Health Officer’s Council of BC show that “for every $5 spent on drug rehabilitation by the Canadian government, $95 is spent on incarceration of drug users.” In addition, substance abuse costs the healthcare system $8 billion every year. **
But apart from the financial impact on the country’s healthcare system, substance abuse also affects relationships, people’s physical, emotional and mental health and their future.
Substance abuse in Ecuador
In Ecuador, drug consumption among adolescents has increased by 28% in the past three years. The number of children harmed by drug use has quadrupled! The government desperately tries to halt the rapid rise of substance abuse, but addiction and abuse continue to skyrocket.
Alcohol abuse in Kenya
Kenya is ranked 3rd among the “Drunkest Countries in Africa”. Unlike in other African countries, women in Kenya drink as much alcohol as men. Poor communities are not exempt, a fact which paves the way for the proliferation of unlicensed drinking dens and the distribution of illegally brewed beer. The latter has caused dozens of deaths across the country, most of them young men and women.
The Kenyan government acknowledged the seriousness of the situation by introducing the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act.*** This law sought to regulate the production, sale, and consumption of alcoholic drinks, and promotes and provides treatment and rehabilitation programs for the addicted.
The Bible Societies in Canada, Ecuador and Kenya are doing their part to address substance and alcohol abuse in their countries with God’s Word. In Canada, the Canadian Bible Society partners with organizations that deal with people coping with substance abuse. In the past year, the Canadian Bible Society has provided 5,000 copies of the Seed for Life Bibles to people struggling with substance abuse.
In Ecuador, the Bible Society is involved in drug prevention programs in partnership with the local government and churches. Their program reaches out to young people aged 12-17. In the past year, the Bible Society has been providing Scriptures and Bible-based materials used in rehabilitation and drug prevention classes. Joel is one of the results of their efforts.
When Joel Dias was 13 years old, his friends introduced him to a drug cocktail made from heroin and other harmful substances, promising it would change his life. Within days of secretly taking the drug, Joel was hooked. The drug caused terrible reactions in his body, but he could not stop. Eventually he fell into a coma, and awoke in the hospital to see his mother tearfully praying over him. He realized then that only God and the love of his family could help him.
Joel entered a rehabilitation centre where he encountered the Bible Society’s drug prevention and care program. Now, four years later, Joel testifies: “God’s Word brought me out of this dark situation. Although it is not easy, I know that with God’s help it is not impossible to get out of drugs.”
The Bible Society in Kenya has recently joined the fight against alcoholism by supporting programs against alcohol abuse, specifically for people living in poor communities. Through the generosity of supporters, the Bible Society will provide Bible-based resources for those who participate in the treatment and rehabilitation programs and will provide training and training materials for church leaders and volunteers. This program is new and currently in its implementation stage.
Drugs and alcohol destroy lives. They are no respecter of people’s age, education or economic status. For the Canadian Bible Society and the Bible Societies in Ecuador and Kenya, addressing these two social problems starts with the person’s heart and mind. Real change and freedom in any form of addiction begins when a person experiences a transformed heart and mind. And the best tool is the Bible – God’s Word.
Here’s how you can support the Bible Society’s efforts in fighting substance and alcohol abuse in Canada, Ecuador and Kenya:
- $40 will provide 100 Scripture portions to help prevent drug addiction in Ecuador;
- $100 will help provide 20 Bibles for people in drug rehabilitation centres in Canada;
- $260 will help train two volunteers to help counsel individuals and families about alcohol abuse in Kenya.
Every day, people become addicted to drugs and alcohol. But every day, people are given the choice to abandon their addiction. With God’s help – and your support – there is hope for them.