Another reason children decide to use illegal drugs is peer pressure. At an early age children develop a keen sense of personal identity and that means being accepted by their peers. It starts in the family. Children develop a sense of being part of something larger than themselves and the family relationship provides it. When their world becomes a bit larger and they branch out into society, that desire to be part of something is exacerbated. They want to be accepted by those they wish to be part of. Thus their actions and attitudes are formed within them in keeping with their perception of what it takes to be accepted. Peer pressure is immensely strong.
If the community exists where there is not a youthful user of illegal drugs, it is a rarity. If, in fact, such a community did exist it is not likely that it can remain that way very long. There is some child, boy or girl, who urges the other children to try that which is forbidden. Forbidden pleasures seem extremely desirable to youth. It may be something foolish such as shop lifting (or other kinds of theft), experimenting with sexual immorality, drinking an intoxicant, whiffing up some fumes from glue, or sniffing cocaine.
The Child Study Association says, “For a number of youngsters, one of the most pressing reasons for experimenting with drugs is a need to belong to a group who are already taking drugs. This may be coupled with unusually strong curiosity, or ignorance about the effects of drugs, or with a need to take risks.” (Ibid., page 18).
Another reason children begin using illegal drugs is what they see in those they admire. It begins at home. A young man from Bridgeport, Connecticut said, “In my house, you can’t sneeze without getting a pill. My mother is always taking something for headaches and my father is always taking something to keep awake to get his work done at night. They’re not drunks but they sure drink a lot. So, now I’m a criminal for smoking pot?”
When youngsters know rock and roll musicians use illegal drugs; when they read of strong athletes using drugs, or even national personalities such as the mayor of Washington, DC using drugs, they are influenced to mimic those they look up to. The news media often sensationalize the drug problem and, believe it or not, this whets the appetites of some youngsters to find out for themselves what it is all about.
Inconsistency in adults can give young people a reason to use illegal substances for a thrill. Alcohol is the number one drug problem world wide, yet it is legalized, advertised, aggrandized, and galvanized into respectability. Parents who take a cocktail before dinner, a sleeping pill before bedtime, and all those other little pills they somehow think they cannot get along without, put before their children an example that leads to the youngster’s use of the drugs of their choice.
Some children experiment with illegal drugs to escape from tension or boredom. They are led to believe that drugs will elevate them into a “beautiful experience.” Why do you think they call the effects of drugs a “high?” They think it will boost their consciousness, their skills, and bring them to a plane of experience such as they have never known before. What they are never told, until it is too late, that what goes up must come down. The trip up is much more exhilarating than the trip down.
Other youngsters turn to drugs out of rebellion against authority. Somehow, some children build up an great feeling of resentment against being told what they can and cannot do. Whether this is parental authority, school authority, or civil authority, they begin to think they have to rebel. They have to show their independence. Some young people began the use of illegal drugs just to show their parents they didn’t have to listen to them. This is their way of showing their aggression. They find it thrilling to upset their parents.
Something is missing in the parent–child relationship. The right example and instruction to a wayward child can cause a tragedy to be averted. Homes have to provide young people something more attractive than the drugs our children are being offered – but in far too many homes, that is absent. Those who need a “high” and achieve it through the use of illegal drugs have never sought the right kind of boost in life. There may be some collective fault, but there is no escape from the fact that as rational beings, children must learn that the decisions they make require acceptance of the consequences.
Many drug rehabilitation programs now are offering what are called “alternatives.” A list of “levels of experience” includes physical, sensory, emotional, interpersonal, social, political, intellectual, and creative esthetic. For each of these, which some seek in drugs, alternatives are listed. The fullest sense of pleasure, satisfaction, and accomplishment comes from enjoying the fullness of blessings in Christ Jesus. In Him, one may be fully satisfied, and complete. To seek a so-called “high” in Christ is better expressed as seeking to know the peace that passes all understanding. That is the direct result of faith that obeys without question what the Lord has revealed. To execute His will, to live for and in Him, is not only fully satisfying, it is a great honor and privilege.
Why drugs? The addict could respond by asking, “What do you have that is better?” And the best offer is a life free from all the sins of the past, free in Christ from the power of sin, and possession of the power to resist anything that is evil and sensual. There is really only one sure drug rehabilitation program – faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God manifested daily in a life of complete surrender to His will.
It is true, we are a church – that means “religion” to some of our turned off youngsters, we are not just a church. We are children of God and are interested in saving you and your children from the degraded life of drug addiction, and your soul from the horrors of everlasting punishment. We are just a church, a small group of Christians, but we have your answer to drug abuse and sin. Call on us if you want our help.