McNabb says those trying to normalize drug use may be morally culpable for recent overdose deaths.
February 23, 2022, Chattanooga, TN – While D.A.R.E. recently pointed the finger at Euphoria writers for choosing to “misguidedly glorify and erroneously depict high school student drug use, addiction, anonymous sex, violence, and other destructive behaviors as common and widespread in today’s world,” Dr. David McNabb, president of Adult & Teen Challenge MidSouth, warns that the attempt to “normalize” drug use and addictive behavior goes well beyond a single television show. He points to FoxNews personality Greg Gutfeld’s promotion of his own drug use on “The Five” in fall 2021 and his article dated November 5, 2021, in which Gutfeld pushes for the legalization of heroin.
“Gutfeld’s argument that legalizing heroin would cut down on deaths from fentanyl is ludicrous,” says McNabb, pointing to new reports of marijuana laced with the deadly synthetic opioid. “Legalizing marijuana hasn’t stopped distributors from lacing that drug,” he adds pointing to the recent warning from Danville police, where marijuana is legalized. Officials report marijuana users experiencing typical fentanyl overdose symptoms of itching, nausea and serious respiratory depression.
Where else does McNabb disagree with Gutfeld’s attempt to normalize drug use? In an opinion piece dated April 25, 2018, Gutfeld reported that only one percent of patients become addicted to painkillers. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, “roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them; between 8 and 12 percent of people using an opioid for chronic pain develop an opioid use disorder;, an estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin; and about 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids.”
“The slope is much more slippery than Mr. Gutfeld would have you believe,” adds McNabb.
Where McNabb agrees with Gutfeld is in his 2019 comments following Pete Buttigieg’s admission that he “tried drugs”, to which Gutfeld responded, “Nobody tries drugs. You do drugs. You can try mountain climbing, but when you’re doing the drugs, it goes inside your body…you’re no longer trying them. They are inside you.”
“The choice to take drugs is a choice that can have deadly consequences,” says McNabb, citing the ten overdose deaths within fourteen days in Chattanooga alone.
McNabb continues, “We all face challenges in life and when that hits, if you don’t have something better to sustain you, the drugs in your cabinet easily become your escape.”
McNabb first sounded the alarm on the trend to normalize drug use last year when Olympian runner, Sha’Carri Richardson, was suspended for one month after testing positive for THC, the main psychoactive component of marijuana. Richardson told reporters she used cannabis as a way to try and cope with the recent death of her mother. At the time, McNabb wrote, “While we sympathize with Richardson on the loss of her mother in the face of the great stress of getting ready for Olympic trials, her decision to risk everything to mask pain is all too common in the U.S. We’re moving, as a society, to self-medicating as a way of coping with the challenges of life.”
“God never promised to remove the painful events of this life but He also never intended for us to face them alone,” says McNabb. In fact, ATCM, a faith-based residential recovery program for men and women 18-50 struggling in addiction looks to these principles as the guiding philosophy of its program.
“When you are sure there is a God who created you, knows you and loves you; a God who is in control and able to keep you through any storm; then, you’re able to lean into Him and say as so many have, ‘it is well with my soul’. You’re able to weather storms.” He adds that storms eventually pass.
“Instead, what we see is frightening,” says McNabb, who points to an educational website created for school age kids to warn them about fentanyl pills that reads, “(name withheld) was familiar with Xanax and sometimes took one when he had time to chill and play video games….Self-medicating with prescription pills is socially acceptable these days.”
“We’re not just becoming one nation dependent on drugs, we’re beginning to normalize it for our kids. No wonder they turn to drugs when life gets hard,” says McNabb.
In sounding this alarm, McNabb is not disparaging people like Gutfeld or Richardson but pointing to the cost of leaving God on the sidelines.
He does point out, however, the irony of Gutfeld’s tirades on “the media” in which he claims “the media” falsifies the truth. “There is no greater lie than the one that says drug use is ok, and I invite Greg Gutfeld and FoxNews executives to visit our campus and talk with our residents,” says McNabb.
He adds, “I’m disappointed with FoxNews, a media conglomerate that promotes a ‘fair and balanced’ reporting of issues, for giving Gutfeld a platform for spreading this kind of mis-information,” and says that to continue this kind of rhetoric may make the entertainer and the network morally culpable in drug overdose deaths.
There needs to be a penalty for lying to the American public on matters of such great consequence, according to McNabb.
Adult & Teen Challenge MidSouth is a faith-based, residential recovery program for men and women 18-50 struggling with addiction. A 2019 study conducted by the Center for Compassion at Evangel University confirms that an astonishing 78% of graduates from Adult & Teen Challenge centers nationwide remain sober and substance free one and three years post-graduation. The findings confirm that ATC graduates are uniquely successful at finding and maintaining freedom from addiction. The reason? ATCM’s program is holistic so graduates are physically stronger, emotionally whole and spiritually connected. For more information, call 423.756-5558 or visit tcmidsouth.org.