Apparently, Fentanyl is a highly potent synthetic opioid, estimated to be 50 times more powerful than pure, pharmacy-grade heroin. Medically, it’s often used for chronic pain patients and those who are likely to experience intense pain such as cancer patients.
An overdose of fentanyl is what was later revealed to kill the singer Prince.
This is a most troubling development in our American culture. This "opioid crisis" continues to sweep across our nation and is claiming hundreds of young lives at an alarming pace. Parents and school administrators can feel helpless as this epidemic continues.
As a pastor who has served in United Methodist youth ministry for 15 years, drug use among teenagers is nothing new in my experience. I've always known students who have smoked pot, dropped acid or drank heavily. Its always been a problem, and the problem continues to grow. The lives of our children are at risk and are under attack.
Without intervention, I have also seen where every one of these stories unfortunately end: young potential wasted, criminal records or worse, the loss of life.
Many young people, when confronted with the option to quit drug use, scoff at the reality of peer pressure as the cause. Denial is the attitude of the day. "Who are you to tell me how to live my life? I can control my own actions. Its not that big of a deal. No one is forcing me to do drugs" they may say.
What young people always fail to see is that they are ultimately seeking acceptance.Teenagers understandably want a place to fit in and feel welcome. They want to escape their problems. They want peace. The drug or party scene provides that immediate gratification. They are seeking the innately good desire of acceptance in all of the wrong places. In order the quell the inner restlessness they feel, substances are consumed to fill a void that only Christ can fill.
Eventually, at the age of 31, as Augustine later told it, his conversion to Christ was prompted by a childlike voice he heard telling him to "take up and read", which he took as a divine command to open the Bible and read the first thing he saw.
This is what he read:
Romans 13:13-14 - New Living Translation (NLT)
Augustine would eventually famously write that, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
Augustine's conversion testimony (and my own, in fact) were not just words: he lived it. He lived through the restless period of life, seeking acceptance from whomever would give it, but it didn't satisfy the deepest longings of his soul.
His heart was restless until it found rest in Christ.
It wasn't until the winding path of his life led to the person of Jesus Christ that everything changed.
The demons were driven out. The restlessness was over. True peace was discovered. God, by his grace, reached out and touched him, and he was never the same.
If you are a young person and you are reading this, know that there is hope for your life.You are not defined by your failures or your pain. Whatever acceptance you are seeking, know that God stands ready to receive you and give you a new heart, a new nature and a peace that only God can give. Consuming drugs, having illicit sex or drinking is an empty well. You will not find the refreshment you seek in those places. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want." (Galatians 5:17)
God isn't out to spoil your fun. Rather, he's out to show you a much, much better way, beyond anything you could imagine.
Only in Christ will you find peace for your soul and the demons of addiction can be driven out. Take up and read what God has to say. He loves you and wants you to live a clean, righteous, and virtuous life with the Spirit of God living within you.
If you are a parent of a young person with addiction reading this, my prayers are with you.
There are resources available for support, such as PALS (Parents of Addicted Love Ones) that can help. You are not alone in this struggle.
Comment below. Thanks for reading.