Addiction Does Not Discriminate…
…Against Race or Ethnicity
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), addiction impacts all communities, regardless of race or ethnicity. The rates of addiction are remarkably similar across cultural divides. However, the majority of those in treatment are Caucasian. This is due in part to the fact that many minority groups may have difficulty accessing care, often as a result of environmental or financial concerns.
…Against Class or Socioeconomic Status
While popular culture tends to stigmatize people struggling with addiction as “poor”, “lazy”, or “from the wrong side of the tracks”, the truth is that there are no socioeconomic barriers to addiction. Many graduates from Adult & Teen Challenge were “high-functioning addicts”, coming from careers like healthcare or education. They are often able to hide their addiction from sight because no one is looking for it.
…Against Religious Affiliation
A recent Barna study showed that rates of addiction are almost identical inside and outside of the evangelical church. We often think that the church does not experience the problems of the world, but nothing could be further from the truth. Churches are made up of people, and the Bible says that all people have sinned and fallen short of God’s expectations. Guilt and shame cause many Christians to hide the things they are going through from their brothers and sisters in Christ, creating a culture of silence on “taboo issues” in the church.
What Can You Do?
Learning more about the realities we face in our world today can equip you to better help those you interact with on a daily basis. Educate yourself on the stigmas surrounding addiction and help others see those in addiction for who they really are – broken people desperately searching for something to fill a void caused by grief and trauma.
We are called to love people unconditionally, just as Christ loves us. Take a moment to skim through the comments on a news story that talks about addiction. The comments are full of hate and hurt. As Christians, we are to be a light in the world – a beacon of God’s love. Reach out to those who are hurting, and love on them.
There are many ways to give. Volunteer at your local Adult & Teen Challenge center. Talk to your pastor about starting an addiction support group at your church. Write letters of support to students in a program. Create a birthday fundraiser on Facebook and ask your friends to get involved. Together we are the hands and feet of Jesus – sharing hope through Christ with a fallen world.