Which statement alarms you more?
1) More and more people are dying each year to drug overdoses.
2) More and more people are dying from drug overdoses, and they don’t know Jesus Christ as their Savior!
If you are a Christ-follower, I hope statement #2 moves you to action because there is something you can do!
Bad News and Big Numbers
Today’s AP news report  concerning 93,000 souls lost to overdose deaths during the year 2020 is so very sad. To be clear, this is not including overdoses that were discovered, EMS notified, and then they were revived. This is just recorded deaths due to drug overdoses. If we were to add alcohol-related deaths that would almost double this number! 180,000 deaths in one year due to chemicals is astronomical, and our society keeps doing the same thing over and over to “treat” the problem of addiction but expecting different results. That’s the colloquial definition of insanity!
(NOTE: I wonder how much higher are the numbers for those who were revived after accidental overdoses? But that’s a topic for another post.)
Today I want to ask you:
What will YOU do in YOUR local community about these numbers?
93,000 people is 254 deaths per day. Can you even fathom that number of souls? Take a look at the capacity attendance in this photo of Atlanta United vs. FC Cincinnati in the Mercedes-Benz stadium, and then ADD 21,772 more people!! That’s how many people died.
Two Worldly Explanations
The secular addiction world analyzes the numbers and talks about the causes from their erroneous worldview. There are often two explanations [excuses] that the world gives for the loss of lives to overdoses…
1) Access to treatment
(There just aren’t enough treatment centers; there isn’t enough money. We could save lives if we had more money and more treatment centers… is their line of thinking.) Insanity because many programs had open beds last year and this year in 2021.
And the other explanation [excuse] is…
2) Stigma prevented them from wanting to seek treatment.
(In this case, the line of thinking goes something like, If providers and society in general would “accept” people and not stigmatize  them, people would seek treatment more often.)
Those two answers/explanations/excuses are all the U.S. system has to speculate and explain 93,000 deaths. It is considered expert analysis and yet it is only theory and speculation. Here’s proof that they are groping in the dark for truth.
The sociologists and researchers analyze the data, make charts and graphs to help us understand what is happening, and discuss the geographic patterns of the overdose deaths. An interesting read from the US Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, [if you have the time, it’s 45+ pages] is this April 2021 research study entitled, “The Opioid Epidemic: A Geography in Two Phases,” by David A. McGranahan and Timothy S. Parker.
One Biblical Explanation for Addiction
The psychologists discuss brain chemistry, neuroreceptors, a disease, an insanity problem, lack of social friendships, lack of support, terrible upbringing, faulty genes, and all kinds of other causes of addiction.
But the Bible simply calls the issue a sin nature problem of a wayward heart seeking to medicate the pain of living in a sin-cursed world of suffering. That would sound like a bleak description of life if there were no answer to that problem, but thankfully, for the believer in Jesus Christ, there is hope in the Gospel message of repentance and forgiveness of sins and the promise of transformation at the heart level.
Lock-Downs Don’t Work
The epidemiologists say lock-downs are the only answer to stop the spread of diseases, and the addictions specialists have sounded the alarm that community must not be taken away from addicts and self-help groups. If addiction is a disease as they believe, then why don’t lock-downs work to curb addiction?
The answer is that addiction is primarily a heart problem of choice within the hearts of all persons. People with addictions need a social network of support, love, encouragement, admonishment, and truth. We all do! Consider Proverbs 18:1 Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. (ESV)  The Bible clearly warns that an isolated person will eventually break out against sound judgment and make some very bad decisions. We were created for community not isolation! The Bible warned us that isolation would lead to all kinds of sinful, poor choices. This recent pandemic proved it quite clearly.
Consider also Ecclesiastes 9:3 which states that madness (which includes addiction) is in everyone’s heart: This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. (ESV) Addicts are not people in a special category. They are just like the rest of us – a part of all of humanity who have madness in their hearts!
Pain and Hopelessness
Other analysts bring attention to the results of surveys that said the stimulus checks gave addicts more money in their pockets to buy more drugs while not working. The DEA, physicians, and public health officials will rightly note the contamination of all the street drugs right now with all kinds of lacing. Fentanyl is entering our country and eliminating lives at an alarming rate. The Left blames the Right and the Right points to the Left. God’s analysis of these 93,000 deaths goes above and beyond all this idle chatter.
And what about the devastated, hurting parents, spouses, brothers, sisters, and friends of dead loved ones who were addicted? How do we help those left here on earth make sense of what has just happened as they mourn the loss of their loved one for years to come?
The disease model doesn’t give grieving family members hope – there is no predictability of who will be “overtaken” by “the so-called disease of addiction” and no known prevention strategy, and worst of all, no cure… just more drugs to replace the drugs being sought. The disease model applies a false bandage to a spiritual problem that cannot be cured. The disease model only offers a worldly label and diagnosis: Substance Use Disorder, which is incurable, progressive, and fatal according to secular sources.
Comfort and Hope
Your normal state of being is sorrow. 
Most people think their normal state is one of enjoyment, pleasure, hope, and love. Then, they wonder why they are having a hard time with difficult circumstances and heartache, but they don’t understand that normality is sorrow. You and I live in a fallen, sin-cursed world and we are sinners in need of saving. Since the Fall of Adam in Genesis 3, everyone now lives as a sinner in a sin-cursed world with pain, grief, sorrow, suffering, physical problems, and death. It is bleak and that’s our normal state! The broken world you live in is meant to cause you to look toward heaven, toward Christ for a Savior.
So, what does God say, and what are we to do?
God’s Word cuts deeper – to the heart – to the why behind all of this.
Why do people use and overdose on drugs?
Why don’t they stop?
Why would they do something that might result in death each time they do it?
Unless and until we get to the answers to THOSE questions, we will be going in circles without answers, dumbfounded just like everyone else. The psychologized worldly system promotes false beliefs about the human heart. Not to mention false beliefs about God. Lies such as:
- You’re a good person – you became insane once you took that first drink or drug
- You’re a good person – a disease just overtook you (again, at the first drink or drug)
- You’re a good person – you just need some tips, tricks, steps, and systems to help you self-correct
- We can help you find yourself – within yourself are the answers you are looking for (since you are a good person after all)
- You can self-correct – you just need a little help… ‘our help,’ say secularists, while even calling it a spiritual problem of addiction!
The secular worldview lies continue…
- That wasn’t YOU doing those things (lying, stealing, hurting others) – that was your disease
- You didn’t stop (using, drinking) because you couldn’t stop, even when you wanted to – and that proves you have a disease
- God is whoever you understand him (or her) to be – you choose a higher power to help restore you to your previous state of “good”-ness
A New Heart, A New Hope
At The Addiction Connection, we are proclaiming that Jesus is the answer.
He is the only answer for the human heart. He ALONE will change the human heart’s desires. He will give power to say ‘no’ to fulfilling sinful pleasures or desires for escape though you may always fight your flesh’s desires for them.
The Bible tells us in Ezekiel 36:26-27: And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. (ESV)
God will cause you to be a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17). God will help you to be transformed by His amazing grace (Rom. 12:2).
And let us be clear on this: we don’t just say that “Jesus HAS the answer,” as if He is ‘holding back the cards’ from us and we must discover the secret truths of what He hidden from us. We say, “Jesus IS the answer.” A personal relationship with Jesus IS the answer to your sin problem, including the ones involving “addiction” since it is better termed as “idolatry” or “drunkenness” according to the Bible.
I’ll say it again: “Jesus is THE answer.” There is no other way to freedom and victory over sin’s crushing effects… both now in this world and in the world to come.
Don’t Keep Doing the Same Thing Expecting Different Results
If you want to keep being insane by using the same tired methods (i.e. secular rehabs, M.A.T., medication replacements, secular talk therapy, highly expensive secular treatment programs, 12 Step programs, and other well-funded attempts to help but have failed), you are free to do so. You are also free to choose to believe the Bible and its absolute source of truth for the addicted so that the message of freedom in Christ can be proclaimed (Col. 1:28-29). Try a new way which is the old way but was abandoned by people who no longer believed that Christ and His Word were sufficient!
Dispelling the Lies and Myths
Here’s how we dispel the myths of addiction with God’s truth from His Holy Word.
|LIES THE WORLD TELLS THE ADDICTED||THE TRUTH OF THE WORD OF GOD|
|· You’re a good person – you became insane once you took that first drink or drug||SCRIPTURE SAYS… There is none good…(Psalm 14:3) and also “in sin did my mother conceive me..” (Psalm 51:5)|
|· We can help you find yourself – within yourself are the answers you are looking for (since you are a good person after all)||1) You don’t seek to find yourself… You seek God through His Word. (“No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” (1 Cor 2:11)
Galatians 5:16-17 says,
|· You’re a good person – a disease just overtook you (again, at the first drink or drug)||True that you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139) but sin was in you from your beginning. You sin because you are a sinner, not the other way around. Romans 3:23 “All have sinned..”|
|· You’re a good person – you just need some tips, tricks, steps, and systems to help you self-correct||“Wages of sin is death.” (Rom 6:23) There are no other coverings for sin, there are no other ways out of sin except repentance and Jesus’ forgiveness. (Mark 1:15) (1 John 1:9)|
|· You can self-correct – you just need a little help… our help say secularists for a spiritual problem of addiction||Abide in the vine… apart from me you can do nothing… (John 15:5)|
|· That wasn’t YOU doing those things (lying, stealing, hurting others) – that was your disease||You will answer to God. (Romans 14:12)|
|· You didn’t stop (using, drinking) because you couldn’t stop, even when you wanted to – and that proves you have a disease||You are not a helpless victim of a disease of insanity or disease of addiction. You are responsible before God for your sin choices. (verses) 2 Peter 2:22b “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” (ESV)|
As humans we are good at convincing ourselves of doing wrong: it is called being self-deceived. The world would say that we can self-correct, but really we self-incorrect; we self-deceive. We can’t self-correct without the power of the Holy Spirit working within us to change our thinking. That type of correcting is from God and His Word. And it comes from outside ourselves—in the work of the Holy Spirit. There is no such thing as self-help or self-correction for the true issues of sin within one’s heart.
One of our CABC’s, Jim Quigley, recently summed up the importance of the hope of the Gospel for all those enslaved in addiction in a conversation I had with him on The Addiction Connection Podcast about Resistant to Treatment and Stigma on 6-28-2021.
“As biblical counselors, when we see someone who does not see their sin… you are guiding them in conversation, telling them this is sin, and they are just ambivalent about it… that person may not have eyes to see or ears to hear. So what then? That makes me an evangelist in the short time that I have with them. I’m praying for the Lord to change them… to remove their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh because that’s what they need. But, at the same time, I don’t [stop] calling sin sin [as I share the Gospel] because they are self-deceived by their own heart. They are in [such] a spiritual condition that all the argumentation in the world will not get them out.. they need supernatural intervention…”
Jim and I were talking about using Biblical words for what is going on in the addicted person’s heart. 1 Cor 2:13 tells us that there are human wisdom words and spirit wisdom words. We must use biblical words and pray for God’s Holy Spirit to open eyes.
We want to be compassionate with people who are lost “in denial” as the world calls it. Everything we do is connected to our belief system. And no matter who we are, what we do, and what we believe, it is all deeply connected to what we believe about God. There is sincerely deceived blindness in the lost. So we share the Gospel. The hope of the Gospel for the heart of addiction.
The world’s lies are telling people, “You can self-correct, you just need our help to self-correct.” They might help you to get sober (though some statistics point to a less than 6% success rate!). But they won’t help you resolve your sin problem once and for all time!
At The Addiction Connection, we’re here to tell the world, one soul at a time, that you cannot overcome the traps you are in without the power and forgiveness of a loving Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
He made you and He loves you.
He IS the ANSWER you need.
He was the answer for the 93,000 lost souls and I hope YOUR community in which God has placed you is hearing that message.
God works through people like you and me to rescue the perishing!
 Stobbe, Mike, US Overdose Deaths Hit Record 93,000 in Pandemic Last Year, AP News, July 15, 2021. Found at https://apnews.com/article/overdose-deaths-record-covid-pandemic-fd43b5d91a81179def5ac596253b0304
 The Addiction Connection Podcasts #119 and #120 address Stigma.
 All scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.
 I had some enlightening conversations with Dr. Daniel Berger recently. Follow The Addiction Connection Podcast to hear more from him.