The success of faith-based organizations assisting those in recovery is encouraging.

An epidemic. A national crisis. A raging disease. These phrases describe the drug addiction crisis sweeping across the nation. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports 90 Americans die every day from opioid overdose, and 64,070 deaths were reported in 2016 alone. Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, due to the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment and criminal justice involvement.

Opioids include the illegal drug heroin and synthetic opioids, which include pain relievers by prescription such as oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, morphine and other prescription pain relievers.

The Crisis in South Carolina

The opioid crisis has made its way to South Carolina. In 2016, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental (DHEC) reported 550 deaths occurring in South Carolina from drug overdose with prescription opioid drugs listed on the death certificate. Richland and Lexington county accounted for 75 of the total deaths. In 2015 DHEC reported the number of deaths from heroin and opioid overdoses in South Carolina surpassed the number of homicides.

The problem of opioid addiction can also be seen in the number of times Naloxone, a fast-acting drug whose purpose is to reverse an overdose, was administered. In 2016 Naloxone was administered 6,427 times across South Carolina. Within Richland county it was administered 240 times, an increase of 63% compared to 2015, and in Lexington county it was given 253 times, an increase of 51% compared to 2015.

These daunting statistics can no longer be ignored, which has led President Trump to declare the “US opioid pain drugs a national crisis.”

Contributing factors leading to the addiction crisis in South Carolina is location and accessibility. South Carolina is a major distribution center for many illegal commodities via ports of Charleston, Georgetown and Port Royal. Charleston is the 7th busiest seaport in the country for container shipping, which is how the majority of illegal drugs enter the state. Moreover, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has recognized that healthcare providers have been prescribing opioid pain relievers at greater rates, which has led to increased accessibility.

Elevate Columbia: Faith-Based Solution to Addictions in South ...

The chains of addiction are real, and faith-based recovery is the answer.

Posted by Palmetto Family on Friday, November 17, 2017

Faith-Based Programs are a Solution

With a problem this vast, finding effective solutions can seem next to impossible. Encouraging, however, is the success of faith-based organizations assisting those in recovery. Studies have documented higher success rates in addicts when faith-infused recovery methods are used compared to non-religious methods. Benefits include lower anxiety, higher resilience to stress, more optimistic life orientation and greater perceived social support. Statistics also reveal adults who skip out on religious services are five times more likely to experiment with hard drugs and seven times more likely to binge drink. Obviously, faith is important to recovering.

Adult and Teen Challenge USA, a Christian-based residential recovery program with 200 locations nationwide, proves faith-based curriculum and practices actually work. A Wilder Research Study conducted on Adult and Teen Challenge USA programs found that 74% of adult graduates reported complete abstinence from drug use six months prior to the study. Compare that to national reports showing general residential programs only have a 21% success rate, and the results speak for themselves.

Non-Christians may wonder why faith-based organizations experience more success, yet the answer is simple – Jesus Christ. Faith in Jesus Christ provides true forgiveness, acceptance and the ability to live a changed life. He can help individuals experience freedom from their addictions and gain a sense of purpose, worth and love through Him. No other drug, medication or secular program will point addicts to the true solution. John 10:10 states, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Faith-based organizations provide opportunities for addicted individuals to break the chains of addiction and experience life to the fullest through Christ Jesus.

Ashley Miller

Ashley Miller

Director of Elevate Columbia

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