Archive for the 'Drugs' Category

One Drug Addict’s Story: Set Free!

Monday, January 16th, 2012

(public domain)

By Spencer D Gear

“When I used pot everyone was affected.” Colin [3] was adamant. School teachers said he was a pain in the butt. He couldn’t give a damn about his parents. Friends warned him about his changed personality.

His peers, in his language, were “hit men.” Success in rugby league was shattered. The boss sacked him because of his tardiness.

Portal icon  He warns: “As a young teenager, pot slowed my maturity. My memory was shot, and still is to some degree. I find it hard to use my mind at its full capacity. It is still difficult to relate to people.”  Increased marijuana use made him feel miserable. Crazy as it seems, the more he got into dope, the more marijuana he used to try to relieve his cannabis-induced misery.

What takes a normal kid in the suburbs in an average Aussie family to the depths of despair through drug addiction? He says that it started in year seven when he began “mixing with the wrong crowd” and a friend’s brother introduced him to the bong. “We would smoke in the school grounds at night and at weekends.”

It was an innocent first encounter, he asserted. Cigarettes, a cold beer and “a bit of marijuana.” By age 17, it was marijuana daily, with occasional use of speed and LSD. “It was a very expensive habit, but I always found the money to be stoned most of the day.”

His parents woke up six years later. Michael, his father, said that “it didn’t gel until he was 18.” How could parents miss the signs for so long?  Michael explained: “We grew up in a world without it. I was born in the country, worked long hours on the job. I went to boarding school. We knew right from wrong, so I didn’t go looking for this kind of stuff.”

Colin’s behaviour was uncontrollable but Michael read it as adolescent rebellion that he would grow out of.
Looking back, Michael says that he can now see the symptoms. Colin was sly and deceptive. Money and other goods disappeared from home. He’d leave for school with his clothes ragged — by choice. But Michael and his wife were not too worried. He was a teenager.

Colin grieves over the stress it caused Mum and Dad. The family was traumatised. He speaks about the “increasing careless attitudes towards anyone who got in my way. I was never home. I seldom made any family contribution. Everything was a hassle. Any inconvenience to me was absolutely intolerable. Getting high was first priority.” With regret, he admits, “I turned into a liar, deceiver and thief in my own family.”

His behaviour deteriorated. “My character changed. So did my outlook on life. Friends warned me about the changes in my personality. My values were turned around.”

Portal icon He “lost his memory often, but that was almost a good thing, I thought. That’s part of being stoned.” He described his thinking as “like a few cords in the head had been severed, wires burned out, and sparks jumping the lead.”

This is consistent with the research of Dr. Richard Schwartz at Georgetown University (USA). He found that “cannabis-dependent adolescents have selective short-term memory deficits that continue for at least 6 weeks after the last use of marijuana.”

Sister Yvonne at the drug education and prevention agency, PRYDE (Cronulla) [4], remembers Colin’s state: “He could hardly string a sensible sentence together. Four or five different ideas were in the one sentence, but not one of the ideas was related to any other.” This is what researchers into the effects of heavy cannabis use call “sequential dialogue” problems.

The local shopkeeper, newsagent, anybody — became the victim of Colin’s rage, offensive attitudes and filthy language. “I was not pleasant to be around.”  Being high was more important than friends. He lost contact with mates in the last two years of his use. “They were my best friends. Now I struggle to make up for lost time.”

In relationships with girls, pot had to be involved. One girl stood by him as his life was in tatters. When he started treating her as a non-person, she opted out of the relationship. He cared deeply for her but “cannabis blinded me to whether or not people loved me.”  Mates were treated as scum and throw-aways. He lost a small carpet-cleaning business. “I mixed with drug addicted criminals constantly. Soon I learned how to be one of them. I hated others with a passion. People were scared of me. But I thought I was in control.”

Eventually his mind “broke down” and he was admitted to a hospital psychiatric unit because of his drug-induced psychosis. “I was hearing voices in my head and having good conversations with radio and TV announcers. It was scary. There were times of reality. Then I’d slip back to my crazy self.”

During one of those schizophrenic-like episodes Colin walked back and forth beside the main highway. Semi-trailers screeched past and he “contemplated stepping in front of them.” Death looked like a safe place for this teenager. Suicide or jail!  He was prepared for either. Three times he contemplated suicide and says that he was “within inches of death.”

The connection between pot use and schizophrenia is well documented. Marijuana use was linked with schizophrenia as an independent risk factor in a major Swedish study. Dr. Sven Andreasson and colleagues at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, found a 600 per cent increase in the incidence of schizophrenia in those who used marijuana on more than 50 occasions in a lifetime.

How much longer could Colin maintain his destructive lifestyle? Once when he faced a local magistrate for drink driving, possession of cannabis, assault and verbal abuse, a parole officer suggested a way out.

He recommended that Colin consider a Christian-based drug rehabilitation agency.  Religion? Matt would have none of it. But he had come to the end of himself. He didn’t know where to turn. Voluntarily, he entered the Christian rehabilitation centre but within five weeks was dismissed for rude and rebellious behaviour. “I had been doing this kind of stuff for years,” he said. A month later he was back in the program. Within twelve months, Colin was free of drugs and has been clean for the last 12 years.

Courtesy Google

 

Former Christian counsellor at the rehabilitation centre, Alice, remembers how distrusting he was of people. He avoided closeness with anybody. She recalls how he “couldn’t stand any form of authority. He would smile and then ignore instructions. He was sneaky. A con!”

Alice says that when he returned to the Rehab Centre after his exclusion, she noticed new motivation. He wanted to change. He was committed to learning new principles in his life.

“But he did have a fiery temper that led to conflict with people. Through it all,” Alice recalls, “even though he was not always right, there was a child-like sincerity within him.”

Colin admits there have been temptations to re-use, but when that happens, “I stop, am still, renew my mind, and remember where I have come from.”  He says the change came when he committed his “life to Jesus Christ. I confessed my sin to him and now I am free.”  Why did he need a religious experience to get free of drugs? Others have not needed Christianity to leave illicit drugs behind. He is firm: “Jesus Christ offers hope that doesn’t fade. I needed lasting strength.”

Leading politicians in Australia advocate the decriminalisation of marijuana, similar to the legislation in South Australia and the A.C.T.  Colin objects: “If we let this drug loose in society, expect behaviour and character changes like what happened to me. The place would be a madhouse with thousands of Colins.  It will affect the milk bar person, the bread man, schools, social interaction, all of life around us. It’s a crazy idea.”

The change has been radical for Colin. Instead of ripping off society, this former drug addict is now giving back to the community. As a volunteer with the Drug-Arm street van, he raps with street kids on weekends. He speaks at schools and churches; works with the police in crime prevention strategies. This is the new Colin in action.

What a turn around! He entered a Bachelor of Theology degree programme at a theological college in Australia. The drug abuse still impacts on his memory. Learning Greek grammar is difficult. For many of us, English grammar is a challenge to master, even without drugs. He struggles with remembering the content of his speeches, based on brief notes.

He has returned to the Drug Rehab. as a temporary weekend supervisor. From drug addict to drug rehabilitation leader! Colin puts it down to “being set free.” [2]

Endnotes:

2.  This is a true story.  I have known this former addict for 19 years.

3.  Colin is not his real name.

4.  NSW, Australia (a southern suburb of Sydney).

 

Copyright © 2012 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 16 October 2015.

Flower9Flower9Flower9Flower9Flower9Flower9Flower9

Whytehouse Designs

How to talk to your child about alcohol and other drug use

Monday, January 16th, 2012

By Spencer D Gear

Alcohol or drug use, particularly when it may involve a member of your family, is a very emotionally loaded issue. Thus, it is quite natural that many parents are at a loss to know how to begin to handle this problem within the family.  The following guidelines were prepared by counsellors trained in working with young people to provide parents with some basic ideas for use in dealing with this issue.

 

(freedigitalphotos.net)

1. Become informed about alcohol and drugs and their effects. Be a credible source of information for your child.

2. Make your position on alcohol and drug use clear to your children so that they know where you stand, even if you have no indications they are involved.

3. Husband and wife should try to reach agreement with each other over handling the issue. There should be consistency and mutual support in your communications with your child on this subject.

4. Be aware that the behaviour you are expecting from your children may be different from that of their peers and that peer acceptance may be of paramount importance to them. Work with them so that they understand the reasons for your expectations. Strengthen their feelings of self-confidence and independence.

5. If you suspect alcohol or drug use, avoid unproductive accusations. These often result in denial. Sit down with your children and discuss calmly any suspicions you have. Talk about your personal concern for them, as well as their wrong-doing. Try to keep discussions on a rational level. Overly emotional, angry outbursts frequently serve only to cut off parent-child communication prematurely.

6. If you see evidence of alcohol or drug use (i.e. physical or psychological symptoms or drug apparatus in their possession), restate your position and make clear the consequences you are prepared to enact. Make sure you are prepared to follow through with the consequences you set. Empty threats are meaningless to a child.

7. Avoid “labelling” or name-calling. You are not dealing with your child’s character at this stage, but with his/her behaviour. Try to remain calm and avoid saying things which tend to further alienate you from your child. The goal of communication is to help him/her understand that, although you are concerned about and disapprove of his/her behaviour, you still love him/her.

8. Try to maintain good communication with your children’s teachers. Let them know you are interested in their progress in school and would be appreciative of feedback from them regarding their academic and social behaviour. Make your child aware of this so that the children realise there exists a “parent-teacher coalition.”

9. Make it your business to get to know your child’s friends, who their parents are, where and with whom he/she is socialising, whether or not parties will be supervised by adults, and so on. Don’t be afraid to communicate with parents of your child’s friends. Introduce yourself to them in person or by telephone. As a general rule, parents have the bests interests of their children in mind and need to reach out and support each other. Make sure that your child is aware you are establishing communication with his/her friends’ parents – being secretive only breeds mistrust.

10. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help. Counsellors trained in working with children and adolescents can help by re-opening communication between parent and child, providing a neutral ground for expression of feelings, and serving to “de-fuse” the climate of tension within families which sometimes develops over issues such as alcohol and drug use.

 

Copyright (c) 2012 Spencer D. Gear.  This document last updated at Date: 9 October 2015.

Flower9Flower9Flower9Flower9Flower9Flower9Flower9

Whytehouse Designs

Summary of the effects of marijuana use

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Marijuana (public domain)

By Spencer D Gear

1.    One cigarette (joint) impairs the short term memory for at least 6 weeks.  There are many studies demonstrating the deterioration of short term memory in marijuana users.  The definitive and best controlled of these was done in 1989 by Dr Richard Schwartz.  He demonstrated persisting impairment of short term memory six weeks after supervised abstention from the drug.  Just one joint is all that is needed.  (Dr’s Richard Schwartz, Gruenewald, M Klitzner et al “Memory Impairment In Cannabis Dependent Adolescents”, Am, J. Dis, Child, 143:1214-19, 1989 – Georgetown Medical School – Washington DC).  Take a read of this one from The New Scientist, “Natural high helps banish bad times.”

2.    In a major study to investigate the effects of cannabis on motor skills, twenty four hours after one cigarette (joint), experienced pilots performed severely impaired simulator landings.  These pilots reported that they felt absolutely fine, with normal mood, alertness and performance and were completely unaware of their impairment.  Several major rail crashes in     the USA have been associated with the use of marijuana.  (Dr JA Yesavage, VO Leirer, DG Morrow, Stanford University – “Marijuana carry over effects on aircraft pilot performance” – Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine, 62:221-27, 1991)  Marijuana use is a continuing concern to paediatricians.

What about road accidents?

Cannabis and driving: a new perspective” by Carl J O’Kane, Douglas C Tutt and Lyndon A Bauer, warns of the influence of marijuana use on one’s ability when driving a motor vehicle [Emergency Medicine, Volume 14 Issue 3 Page 296  – September 2002].  Whilst much research exists from overseas relating to increased risk of motor vehicle accidents due to marijuana use, the following Australian data are significant.

Dr Judith Perl, pharmacologist, of the Clinical Forensic Medicine Unit – NSW Police Service released information in 1991 of a study conducted over the period 1987-90.  The study involved taking blood and urine samples from accident victims in four Sydney hospitals at random.  The only qualifier was that those measuring .05 BAC [blood-alcohol concentration], or known to have consumed alcohol were not tested for other drug use.  The increase in positive testing for cannabis in the blood of these victims was staggering, increasing from 28% (87-88) to 68% (1990).  [See also Judith Perl,  “Drugs & traffic safety”, Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences 17:25]Mrs Kate Carnell stated in “Debates of the Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory” (Hansard, 9 September 1992, p. 2077) that:

“Cannabis is clearly a cause of driver impairment – a fact of which we are becoming incresasingly aware.  A study conducted by Dr. Judith Perl, of the forensic unit of the New South Wales Police, shows that cannabis is the single most important source of driver impairment discovered in blood and urine samples.  Cannabis constituted 68 per cent of all drug-positive urine and blood tests conducted in New South Wales during 1990.  Thus the threat that cannabis poses to driving safety is not idle and it must not be ignored.  We know that alcohol also affects driving ability, judgment and skill performance, but the residual effects of cannabis last much longer than those of alcohol.”

3.    A 15 year research project at the Karolinska Institute and Juddinge University Hospital, Sweden, revealed a 600% increase in the incidence of schizophrenia in conscripts who had used marijuana 50 times or more in their lifetime.  This study used a standardised method for the diagnosis of schizophrenia.  (Longitudinal study at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden – 15 year study using 45570 army conscripts – Dr Sven Andreasson,  P Allerbeck, A Engstrom et al., Cannabis and Schizophrenia: A Longitudinal Study of Swedish Conscripts.  The Lancet, 2:1483 -1485,1987).

4.    A parallel study showed a 500% increase in the overall incidence of other psychiatric disorders in conscripts who were users. (Andreasson, S; Allerbeck, P; Rydberg, U., “Schizophrenia in Users and Non Users of Cannabis”  Acta Psychiatr. Scan., 79:505-510, 1989)  The use of cannabis in adolescence and risk for adult psychosis was examined in a New Zealand: longitudinal prospective study.  It found that “early cannabis use (by age 15) confers greater risk for schizophrenia outcomes than later cannabis use (by age 18). The youngest cannabis users may be most at risk because their cannabis use becomes longstanding.” [BMJ BMJ. 2002 November 23; 325 (7374): 1212–1213] [2].  The New Scientist reports on another study confirming the “Cannabis link to mental illness strengthened“.

5.    The Swedish study scientifically linked marijuana to the dramatic increase in drug-induced schizophrenoform illness and the associated increase in teenage suicide rates and other violent death (as above )

6.    The so called “Amotivational syndrome” –
Portal icon  Apathy, poor judgement, lack of self care,
Portal icon  Decreased empathy (perception of others problems)
Portal icon  Impaired perception of past, present and future.
Portal icon  Difficulty with information processing.
Portal icon  Difficulty with sequential dialogue.
(Goodman & Gilman – “The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics” 8th Ed. 1991)  For the latest edition.

Dr Robert C Gilkeson, – a teacher, paediatrician, adolescent neuropsychiatrist and brain researcher, specialising in early childhood development and learning disabilities, moved in 1987 (after some years of paediatric practice and consultancy) to devote his time to research the effects of marijuana on brain function.  Up until his untimely death in 1993, he was the Director of the Center for Drug Education and Brain Research.  He summarised his general findings in a paper to the US Committees of Correspondence, Drug Watch division with this quote:

“My research studies of youngsters from kindergarten through high school show previously well adjusted and intellectually endowed children falling apart academically and emotionally in the teenage years with the only new factor being that of occasional marijuana use.  Marijuana use can lead to an inability to retain strong self image, and an inability to visualise and plan for the future.  Using marijuana makes ‘great’ people feel average, and ‘average’ people ‘dumb’.  Marijuana use is toxic to all cells, and most especially toxic to brain cells.

“In 1981, my eight year study of 90 adolescent marijuana smokers was completed.  Each youths brain wave tracings (EEG) showed dysfunction (decreased activity) similar to brain wave tracings of the learning disabled.  A decrease in brain cell energy causes a decline in the level and complexity of thought and behaviour.  ‘Burned out’ kids with impairment to both their frontal lobe and their short term memory due to chronic intoxification of marijuana were evident.

“These impairments are the cause of the increased violent and non violent juvenile crime, truancy and school drop out, teenage runaways and vagrancy, teenage prostitution and pregnancy, venereal disease, adolescent depression and suicide, polysubstance use and adolescent psychiatric referrals.  Most alarming of all is the fact that we have witnessed the appearance of a new chronic organic brain syndrome called ‘burnout’ caused by marijuana use.”

Portal iconPortal icon Portal icon

Recent research in animals has also suggested that long-term use of marijuana (THC) produces changes in the limbic system that are similar to those that occur after long-term use of other major drugs of abuse such as cocaine, heroin, and alcohol. These changes are most evident during withdrawal from THC. During withdrawal, there are increases in both the levels of a brain chemical involved in stress and certain emotions and the activity of neurons in the amygdala. These same kinds of changes also occur during withdrawal from other drugs of abuse, suggesting that there may be a common factor in the development of drug dependence (Connecticut Clearinghouse, “Marijuana: The Brain’s Response to Drugs,” 1999).

In 1992, a study assessed the acute effects of cannabis on human cognition.  This study found that cannabis impaired all capabilities of learning including associated processes and psychomotor performance.  (Block RI, Farinpour R & Braverman K., “Acute effects of marijuana on cognition: relationship to chronic effects and smoking techniques. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behaviour,” 1992, 43(3):907-917).  Here is a summary of that research.  Also take a look at: “Marijuana use during pregnancy damages kid’s learning” (The New Scientist).

“Much recent research is showing us exactly how marijuana impairs the brain. For instance, three days or more after smoking marijuana, PET scans of chronic marijuana users show decreased metabolic activity in the brain, especially in the cerebellum, a part of the brain involved with motor coordination, learning, and memory [Volkow ND et al., Psychiatric Research Neuroimaging 67:29-38, 1996]” (quoted from, “Prof. Miron Is Wrong About Marijuana,” Janet D. Lapey, M.D., The Massachusetts News Columnist, February 2000).  However, The New Scientist claims that “Controversy still rages over whether cannabis damages the brain.”

For a summary of information for teenagers see:  “Tips for Teens: The Truth About Marijuana.” 

7.    Four times the cancer causing potential of cigarettes.  Cancers of the mouth and jaw usually seen in men (over 60 ) who had been heavy smokers and drinkers for decades have been found in young users.  All had been daily marijuana users but had not smoked nicotine and only used a small amount of alcohol if any.  Study group was young men between 19-38 who had developed squamous cell cancers of the tongue or jaw with lymph node involvement. (PJ Donald – “Marijuana Smoking – Possible Causes of Head and Neck Carcinoma in Young Patients” Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, 94:517-521, 1986 – University of California, and Hoffman, D.; Brunnermann, KD.; Gori, GB.; Wynder, EL., “On the Carcinogenicity of Marijuana Smoke”.  In: Runeckles, VC., ed. Recent Advances in Phytochemistry, New York: Plenium, 1975:63-81.) 

The New Scientist reports on “Cannabis smoking ‘more harmful’ than tobacco.”

“Marijuanasmoking is associated with a dose-dependent increased risk ofhead and neck cancer. . .  Marijuana is a riskfactor for human head and neck cancer ” (“Marijuana Use and Increased Risk Zuo-Feng Zhang, Hal Morgenstern, Margaret R. Spitz, Donald P. Tashkin, Guo-Pei Yu, James R. Marshall, T. C. Hsu and Stimson P. Schantz (Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention Vol. 8, 1071-1078, December 1999)

Here’s a summary of risk factors for head and neck cancer, including the use of marijuana.

Although scientists have been convinced in the past that smoking causes lung cancer, the strong statistical associations did not provide absolute proof. This paper absolutely pinpoints that mutations in lung cancer cells are caused by benzopyrene. An average marijuana cigarette contains 30 nanograms of this carcinogen compared to 21 nanograms in an average tobacco cigarette (Marijuana and Health, National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine report, 1982). This potent carcinogen suppresses a gene that controls growth of cells. When this gene is damaged the body becomes more susceptible to cancer. This gene, P53, is related to half of all human cancers and as many as 70% of lung cancers.

Commentary: Clearly marijuana smoke contains more of the potent carcinogen benzopyrene than tobacco smoke. Furthermore, the technique of smoking marijuana by inhaling deeply and holding the smoke within the lungs presents a chance of much greater exposure than a conventional tobacco cigarette. (Commentary provided by William M. Bennett M.D., Professor of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, Clinical Pharmacology and Hypertension at Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, Oregon.  This information is from Drug Watch Oregon).

8.  Depression of the immune system at both humoural (body fluids) and cell immunity levels. In fact the immune system response is lowered by up to 40%.  Studies have shown for instance that young people who are users tend to be ill more frequently than non users.  Dr Akira Morishima has found that marijuana more than any other drug he had studied is closely     correlated with a high rate of chromosome damage or destruction particularly in relation to T- lymphocytes (white blood cells). [Friedman, H; Klein, TW; Newton, CA; Widen, R., “The Effects of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and 11-hydroxy-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol on 7-lymphocyte and B-lymphocyte Mitogen Response”. J. Immunopharmacol., 7,451,1985 Florida University – 1985 &1994 Drugs of Abuse and the Immune System; 1st International Symposium Paris 1990  & A Morishima, GG Nahas & et al].

“There is good evidence that THC and other cannabinoids can impair both cell-mediated and humoral immune system functioning, leading to decreased resistance to infection by viruses and bacteria. However, the health relevance of these findings to human marijuana use remains uncertain. Conclusive evidence for increased malignancy, or enhanced acquisition of HIV, or the development of AIDS, has not been associated with marijuana use” (National Institutes of Health – Workshop on the Medical Utility of Marijuana, February 19-20, 1997)

For a contrary opinion, see “Marijuana and Immunity,” Leo E. Hollister M.D. (Journal of Psychoactive Drugs pp. 159-163 Vol. 24 Apr-Jun 1992).

Portal icon9.    Fertility and other sexual development problems in males and females.

Males: sperm production is reduced, sperm motility reduced, production of testosterone and other hormones are reduced or delayed, which inhibits normal sexual development in males.  Studies indicate that sometimes this sexual developmental delay leads to lack of interest in females and normal copulatory behaviour.  Another side effect is the chromosomal damage (up to three times the normal rate) giving rise to the inability to produce normal pregnancy.

Females:  marijuana can cause defective menstrual cycles, damage the ovum, cause production of high levels of testosterone, and significantly reduce levels of prolactin, which is required for milk production.  Additionally females who use during pregnancy or who have residual levels of THC still present in their bodies are shown to produce lower than normal birthweight babies and, especially males with a higher than normal mortality rate. (Dr Wylie Hambree et al Columbia University; Dr Susan Dalterio University of Texas; Mendelsen JH et al Journal of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics, 1978, 207:611-617; Dr Ethel Sassanrath, University of California; Hingson et al ‘Paediatrics’, vol 70 Oct 92 – Marijuana Alert.  Hatch, E; Bracken, M., “Effect of Marijuana Use on Foetal Growth.”  Am. J. Epidemiol. 124, 986, 1986.  Fried, P; Watkinson, B; Willan, A., “Marijuana Use in Pregnancy and Decreased Length of Gestation.”   Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol., 105, 23, 1984)

A new study at the University of Buffalo, USA, has found: “Men who smoke marijuana frequently have significantly less seminal fluid, a lower total sperm count and their sperm behave abnormally, all of which may affect fertility adversely, a new study in reproductive physiology at the University of Buffalo has shown” (University of Buffalo Reporter, October 23, 2003).

Researcher Peter Fried, a psychologist at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, “told New Scientist (25 March 2003) that as well as affecting memory and learning, exposure to marijuana during pregnancy has a strong effect on visual mapping and analysis in human children.”

10.    DNA metabolism is inhibited thus interfering with cell function and replication.  The blockage of this process results in slowing down the manufacture of DNA, RNA and proteins in the cell nucleus – a process essential for cell life.  (B. Desoize; G Nahas; C Latour; R Vistelle,  University of Champagne – Ardenne, “In Vivo Inhibition of Enterocyte Metabolism by Delta-9-THC” Pro. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med., 181, pp. 512-516, 1986)

11.    Associated with the above the THC enlarges the area between each cell, resulting in poor transmission of nerve impulses.  This can lead to impaired speech and comprehension of complex ideas, loss of memory, difficulty in concentrating, insomnia, lack of body coordination and loss of muscle strength, impaired vision and unexpected mood changes.  (RG Heath et al – “Chronic Marijuana Smoking  – its effect on the Function and Structure of the Primate Brain”.)
Again associated with the issue of DNA, RNA, cell function and replication is the issue of birth abnormalities being produced in the offspring of parents who have used or are still using marijuana.  These abnormalities closely resemble those of thalidomide babies although where thalidomide produced such abnormalities called phecomelia – in place of hands and feet, new borns had seal-like flippers.

Marijuana is responsible for defects such as non-existent limbs, phocomelia, syndactyly (fingers are fused together rendering them useless), missing hands and forearms, webbing of the hands, lack of nails, club feet and hydrocephalus (so called water on the brain).  Dr Virchel E Wood, Orthopedic Surgeon & Associate Professor of the School of Medicine – Dept of Orthopedic Surgery – Loma Linda University (USA) has indicated that abnormalities can occur in the young of one or both parents who have been shown to have used marijuana.  People who use marijuana and other drugs have 18 times more birth defects than non users.

n research reported in 2003, Drs Kenneth L. Audus, and Michael J. Soares of the Institute of Maternal-Fetal Biology concluded that “illicit drugs (e.g. cocaine, marijuana, etc) taken by the mother at virtually any time during gestation have the potential to adversely affect the outcome of pregnancy, resulting in severe complications for the mother, pre-term birth, abnormalities in fetal development and increased health risks as the newborn grows into adulthood” [” Dr. Audus is an internationally recognized expert on drug metabolism and drug transport by the placenta, while Dr. Soares’ expertise resides in understanding mechanisms controlling the growth and development of the placenta”] (News Release, September 1, 2003).

Dr Susan Dalterio of the University of Texas (San Antonio) has noted in extensive studies that genetic mutations have passed through to the second generation of offspring of marijuana users.

 

Such warnings [about marijuana use linked to psychoses] should not surprise the scientists who have for many years maintained that the THC contained in marijuana is dangerous. First, in the late 1960?s Dr. Robert Heath, then chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology at Tulane Medical School, found that marijuana affects brain waves and destroys brain cells. [3] Second, a study conducted by Dr. Ethel Sassenrath at the University of California at Davis between 1974 and 1978 found that THC increased the rate of fetal loss (in utero, fetal death) in monkeys by over 300%, while at the same time decreasing the birth weights in those babies born alive. [4] Third, a study by Dr. Susan Dalterio, at the University of Texas found that marijuana decreased testosterone and impaired sexual development in male mice. [5] Finally, a study by Dr. Albert Munson found that injections of THC suppressed the immune systems of mice and made them 96 times more susceptible to the herpes virus. [6] (Schaffer Library of Drug Policy)

12.    1100% increase in the incidence of acute non lymphoblastic leukaemia in the offspring of mothers who used while pregnant or just prior to conception.  The research also indicated that that these children developed the leukaemia earlier – 19 months instead of the usual 93 months.  (Professor Neglia et al Minnesota University – reported 1990 and Robson et al Children’s Cancer Study Group – reported in “Cancer” 63:1904-1910, 1989)

13.    Marijuana prevents liver enzyme CP450 from breaking down anti-depressant medication thus causing an accumulation of the anti-depressant in the body which can result in death (Dr John Anderson – Neuro Scientist, Consultant, Psychophysiologist – Neuroscience Psychological Services Centre,  Westmead,  Sydney NSW).  It is tragic for the scientific cause of the investigation of the impact of marijuana and anti-depressants that Dr. Anderson died in 2002.

  I would like to see in-depth research conducted to follow-up Dr. Anderson’s pioneering work.  Here is a summary of Dr. John Anderson’s preliminary research.  Further, Dr. Anderson contended:

Statistics suggest that 40% of ADHD children are predisposed to substance abuse during adolescence or adulthood. Of the ADHD population who are poly substance users, 67% smoke marijuana. Many behavioural changes are similar to those of ADHD: academic ability decreases; sniffles, colds, trivial illness, especially respiratory system; concentration levels decrease; depersonalisation; increased levels of anxiety; increased depression; reaction times slows; short-term memory difficulties; a lack of motivation or interest in things previously enjoyed; increased impulsivity; space and time distortion; may increase appetite.  (A summary of a talk presented by John Anderson to ADDult, NSW, Australia)


14.    Marijuana use and its link to other illicit drugs, is not genetic according to
Michael Lynskey, at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri, and his team [who] found that the early user [of marijuana] was two to five times more likely to go on to use harder drugs or become dependent on alcohol – regardless of whether they were an identical twin or not.

    The fact that identical twins, who share all their genes, did not differ from non-identical twins, who share half, suggests that the progression is not the product of genes. (The New Scientist, 21 January 2003, based on an article in the  Journal of the American Medical Association, vol 289, pp. 427, 482).

15.  Yet, there is a rising swell of support for marijuana use across Europe and Canada, according to The New Scientist

For further marijuana research summaries, see the Drug Watch Oregon website.  See “Marijuana: Facts for Teens.”
Here’s a short summary of the effects of marijuana (a summary of this article).

Recommendations

  • See the Washington State University article, “Marijuana Effects” that confirms the deleterious consequences of marijuana use.

Notes:

1.  Susan Dalterio is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biology at the University of Texas at San Antonio.  Her email contact is:  sdalterio@utsa.edu

2.  Copyright © 2002, BMJ BMJ. 2002 November 23; 325 (7374): 1212–1213, “Cannabis use in adolescence and risk for adult psychosis: longitudinal prospective study, ” Louise Arseneault, lecturer, Mary Cannon, Wellcome Trust advanced fellow, Richie Poulton, director, Dunedin multidisciplinary health and development study, Robin Murray, professor, Avshalom Caspi, professor, Terrie E Moffitt, professor. 

SGDP Research Centre, King’s College, London SE5 8AF, Division of Psychological Medicine, King’s College, Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Correspondence to: T E Moffitt t.moffitt@iop.kcl.ac.uk. 

3.  Robert G. Health, “Cannabis Sativa: Effects on Brain Function,” Biological Psychiatry, Vol. 15, No. 5, 1980.

4. Government’s Supplemental Sentencing Memorandum Re: Health Effects of Marijuana, U.S. v. Greyshock, United States District Court for the District of Hawaii, 1988.

5.  Ibid.

6.  Ibid.

 

Copyright © 2012Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 16 October 2015.

Flower9Flower9Flower9Flower9Flower9Flower9Flower9

Is use of marijuana a sin for Christians

Monday, January 16th, 2012


Flowering Cannabis plant

By Spencer D GEar

Is it a sin to use illicit drugs such as marijuana? I would say, yes, for these reasons:

1. You say that “I don’t’ see God declaring it a sin, so I don’t believe it is a sin”. Just because God doesn’t mention taking illicit drugs such as marijuana, does not mean that He doesn’t give principles in the Bible that apply to illicit drugs. If I am to accept your line of reasoning, I would have to say that I will promote abortion because the word “abortion” does not appear in the Bible. Also, if I pursue your view, I would say that I do not accept the Trinity because the word, “Trinity”, does not appear in the Bible. There are obvious reasons to reject abortion because it is the killing of a human being – yes, a human being from conception. The doctrine of the Trinity, even though the word is not mentioned in the Bible, is taught in the Bible as three persons in one God. The idea that God does not declare the use of marijuana as sin, so it is OK to use marijuana for a Christian or anybody else, has BIG holes in it. These include:

2. You have quoted, “all things are lawful”, but you didn’t complete the verse. The whole verse states: “‘All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be enslaved by anything. ‘Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food’—and God will destroy both one and the other'” (1 Cor. 6:12-13a ESV)[1]. Here Paul gave the slogans of the Corinthians and then provided his responses:

Slogan: All things are lawful for me; Response: but not all things are helpful

Slogan: All things are lawful for me; Response: but I will not be enslaved by anything

Slogan: Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food; Response: and God will destroy both one and the other

You are practising the Corinthian kind of sloganeering when you only quote part of the verse – the slogan. Paul opposed the slogans and gave God’s responses. There are plenty of applications in this slogan-response sequence to apply to illicit drugs. In context, 1 Cor. 6 is referring to food and sexual immorality (especially). However, God’s response through Paul is, “not all things are helpful”, “I will not be enslaved by anything”, and “God will destroy both one and the other”.

We know that marijuana use is NOT helpful. I have already provided you with a list of very negative consequences of marijuana use, based on the research. Since marijuana is a drug of addiction, it fits right in with Paul’s response, “I will not be enslaved by anything”. If you are truly wanting to follow the Lord, you will not want to be enslaved by the THC in marijuana. Therefore, it is a sin to break God’s teaching on what is beneficial for your health.

#

3. However, you dare to ask, “Why are we making stupid laws?” Excessive alcohol drinking is harmful to one’s health. But 50 glasses of beer in a lifetime do not have the same risk as 50 joints of marijuana: There was a 600% increase in the incidence of schizophrenia in conscripts who had used 50 cannabis cigarettes or more in their lifetime. (Longitudinal Study at Karolinska Institute in Sweden – study over 15 years with approx 55000 conscripts -Andreasson, Allerbeck Engstrom et al -The Lancet – 1987). One joint of marijuana impairs short term memory for at least six weeks. (Dr’s. R. Schwartz, Gruenewald, M Klitzner et al “Memory Impairment in cannabis dependent Adolescents.” 1989 Georgetown University). Please understand that I am not advocating the use of tobacco or alcohol. I have not used either in all my life, but what I’m trying to point out is that moderate use of alcohol does not have the same impact on one’s brain as use of marijuana. Therefore, based on the scientific evidence, far from making stupid laws by making marijuana use illegal, governments are making very sensible laws in trying to prevent severe medical and mental damage to individuals. Your accusation of “stupid laws” in relation to marijuana use does not hold up under the weight of mental illness caused by marijuana use, based on the research. I KNOW the impact of marijuana from 34 years of counselling these people. Please don’t be so myopic as to write anti-marijuana legislation off as “stupid laws”.

4. There is one area in which I substantially agree with you. There are better places than jail for rehabilitating somebody with a drug and gambling problem. Jails seem to be too easy of a sentence for most criminal offences.

#

5. You say, “But its not a sin for me to gamble”. I don’t know how old you are as a Christian. Have you been truly born again or are you a Christian in name only. It seems that you have an elementary understanding of Scripture. I live in a country, Australia, that has a love affair with gambling. Almost 21% percent of the world’s poker machines are in Australia.[2]

What is God’s view on gambling? Games of chance are not approved by God. Here are some biblical reasons:

I cannot locate a Scripture which states, “Thou shalt not gamble,” but the concepts of chance, luck and fortune should not be in a biblical world and life view. Support for gambling as we understand it today is foreign to the Scriptures for these reasons:

a. The Christian view of godliness

According to Matthew 6:33, believers are to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things [material things] will be added to you.” We are exhorted to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11). How is it possible to use gambling for help with daily necessities and still rely on God to supply our needs?

b. The Christian view of work

Ephesians 4:28 says: “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.” Could it be said that the modern concept of gambling, reaping many dollars for a small investment, is akin to stealing from others – legally? The Christian work ethic is one of labouring with one’s own hands or abilities to raise money or goods to maintain one’s individual life and family, and to share with those in need. Receiving $40 million as a gambling jackpot for spending only a few dollars sounds more like a “rip-off” of other people than an honest day’s work. But, of course, it is all done legally and governments receive their share of the “rip-off.”

c. The Christian view of stewardship

Hebrews 13:5 states that believers are to “keep your life free from love of money and be content with what you have, for he said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'” This is in contrast to the ones seeking big bucks from all sorts of gambling, with the investment of an infinitesimal amount.

The gambler seems to be like the greedy person. What is the biblical view of greed? The greedy are “the unrighteous who will not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9). But there is good news for the greedy. They can be redeemed by being washed by the blood of Jesus, justified and sanctified. “Such were some of you,” said Paul of the greedy (I Cor. 6:11).

The common jargon these days is that gambling is supposed to be for fun – entertainment. Second Timothy 3:4-5 warns us that Christians are not to be “lovers of pleasure.” Instead they are to be “lovers of God.” Those who love pleasure are to be avoided (v. 5).

d. The Christian view of love for your neighbours and enemies

Jesus told us, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Matt. 22:39). How can we as Christians truly love our enemies (Matt. 5:44) while we contribute to taking money away from them? Approximately half of the revenue at poker machine venues in Australia comes from problem gamblers according to the Productivity Commission Report in 1999. How can we justify gambling when it is causing devastation to the individual and 5-10 other people associated with the problem gambler?[3]

e. How the Christian views his/her influence on others

How can Christians be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” (Matt. 5:13-14) while greedily wanting big bucks and ripping others off – legally, of course – through 21st century-style gambling? How can you “love your neighbour as yourself” (Matt. 22:39) while at the same time taking money from him/her through gambling?

Biblical Christianity promotes the view of Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), which is a life-style that, it seems to me, is impossible to reconcile with a 21st century approach to gambling that is promoted by governments.

f. Luck and fortune are not part of God’s kingdom

Isaiah 65:11-12 warns:

But you who forsake the Lord, who forget my holy mountain, who set a table for Fortune and fill cups of mixed wine for Destiny, I will destine you to the sword . . . You did what was evil in my eyes and chose what I did not delight in.

Luck, chance and fortune are not in God’s worldview. Neither should they be in ours. These are essential to the gambling kingdom! Christians should set a godly example and not participate in any games of chance.

Pastors and churches that approve of gambling should be called back to biblical Christianity.

6. Acts 5:29 states that “we must obey God rather than any human authority” (NLT). There are times when governments make unjust laws that conflict with God’s laws. At these times I must obey God rather than government. If I had been Corrie ten Boom in World War 2, I would have told lies like she did to prevent the slaughter of Jews and others in the Holocaust. But that is not what we are doing when we defy government laws against marijuana use, as the THC in marijuana is a very dangerous drug.

See:

#

Notes:


[1] See also 1 Cor. 10:23 where Paul states, “‘All things are helpful, ‘ but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful, but not all things build up” (ESV).

[2] “Russell Crowe rallies against gambling,” China Daily, 2008-01-03, available from: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/showbiz/2008-01/03/content_6368802.htm (Accessed 15 November 2008).

[3] Senator Jeannie Ferris 2000, 3rd National Gambling Conference, Rex Hotel, Sydney, 12 May, available from: http://www.aic.gov.au/conferences/gambling00/ferris.pdf (Accessed 15 November 2008).

#

Copyright © 2012 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 16 October 2015.

Flower9Flower9Flower9Flower9Flower9Flower9Flower9

Whytehouse Designs

Alcohol and the Christian[1]

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

By Spencer D Gear

Where do Australians rank in the world of alcohol consumption? This article from the Australian Times [UK] (‘World’s 20 drunkest countries: Where does Australia rank in alcohol consumption?’ 18 May 2014) stated:

Aussies are renowned the world over as prolific beer drinkers (and we make a bloody good drop of wine too). It’s in our culture and runs through our veins, so the stereotype goes. But exactly how does Australia rank against the rest of the world when it comes to alcohol consumption?

Well, a 2014 WHO (World Health Organisation) report looks at alcohol consumed globally by drinkers aged 15 and older (the stats were taken from the years 2010-2011).

So, how did we go? Aussie drinkers consumed 14.5 litres of pure alcohol per capita, per year. This is more than twice the global average of 6.55 litres. But guess what; Australia only ranks 19th out of all countries when looking at alcohol consumed per capita:

Drunk countries

Mashable’s map of the WHO report highlighted the “drunkest countries in the world”. Eastern European countries are world beaters, but Australia wasn’t too far behind, as this WHO map shows:

WHO map

Source: WHO

The map shows how Australia compares to countries outside the Western Pacific Region. So while Aussie drinkers might consume less than most in Eastern Europe, they’re drinking more than Brits (13.8 litres of pure alcohol per drinker) and Kiwis (13.7). We’ll drink to that!

Stats say Aussies favour beer over most drinks, with wine as a close second:

Aus beer

Source: WHO

With men consuming more than double that of women in Aus, we’ve definitely got the boys to thank for this one. Pass us another cold one, would ya mate? [1]

“Alcohol abuse has now become the major drug problem in Australia, with alcohol-related road deaths, hospital admissions and drownings bearing witness to the enormity of the problem. Family breakdowns, domestic violence, homicides and money worries go hand-in-hand with excessive drinking, as do depression, sexual impotence, permanent brain damage and poor dietary habits.” [2]

“Drug misuse [is] estimated to cost Australia more than $14 billion a year in road trauma, health care, lost productivity, and law enforcement.” [3]

Yet, it appears that God wants us to enjoy food and alcohol. Ecclesiastes 9:7 says, “Go then, eat your bread in happiness, and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works.” [4]

How do we put these two ideas together? The devastation of alcohol on the Australian community on the one hand, and a God who seems to approve of alcohol use? Is God a big ogre, saying, “Go ahead, enjoy your alcohol, and too bad about what happens in your life and nation?” That doesn’t compute with the compassionate, merciful God of the Bible!

Is the Lord saying it’s perfectly okay for Christians to enjoy their booze — beer, wine and spirits?

My focus will be on wine-drinking. I want to take a serious look at the Bible’s view of alcohol use and what our response should be.

A.  WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT WINE DRINKING?

1.  It’s a sin to get drunk.

In the Old Testament,[5] the stubborn and rebellious son who received the death penalty for his sin, was also a glutton and a drunkard.

While the O.T. was the covenant of law and Christians are under grace, the New Testament agrees with the Old. I Corinthians 5:11 tells Christians “not to associate” with “a drunkard.”

I Corinthians 6:10: No “drunkards” will inherit the kingdom of God;

Ephesians 5:18, “Do not get drunk with wine.”

Galatians 5:19-21 lists “drunkenness” as one of the “deeds of the flesh.”

The Bible is very clear that drunkenness is a sin that will prevent you from entering heaven.

2.  Strong drink is deceptive and sinful.

The Bible has a lot to say about strong drink.

  • O.T. priests were not to have ‘wine or strong drink’ (Deut. 10:8-9).
  • Prov. 20:1, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler.”
  • Prov. 31:4-5, Kings are not to drink wine; rulers are not “to desire strong drink.” Why? “Lest they drink and forget what is decreed, and pervert the rights of all the afflicted” (v. 5).
  • Isa. 5:11, “Woe to those who rise early in the morning that they may pursue strong drink.”
  • Micah 2:11 says it was the false prophet who said, “I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer.”[6] He’s called a “liar and a deceiver.”

The Hebrew word for “strong drink” is used 23 times in the OT. It refers to “an intoxicating drink made from barley, pomegranates, dates, apples or honey.”

The most common word for “wine” is used 141 times in the OT. “New wine” is used 38 times and refers to “freshly pressed juice of the grape, that is, grape juice that has not yet fully fermented,”[7] e.g. Gen. 27:28; Joel 2:24; Mic. 6:5.

The use of strong drink will deceive you and is sinful.

3.  Drinking in excess is wrong.

Pink Lady cocktail vector clip art

(public domain)

  • Amos 6:1, 6: “Woe to you who are complacent in Zion… You drink wine by the bowlful.”[8] Cups were apparently not large enough, so they were drinking from bowls.
  • Hab. 2:15 states that over-drinking leads to sexual sin.

The Scriptures assert that drinking in excess has these results:

  • slowing of the thinking processes (Prov. 31:4-5; Isa. 28:7; Hos. 4:11);
  • a stupor (Jer. 25:27; 51:39);
  • sickness (Isa. 19:14; 28:7-8; Jer. 48:26);
  • staggering (loss of balance and loss of mental control) (Job 12:25; Isa.28:7- 8; 29:9);
  • arrogance (Hab. 2:5);
  • forgetfulness (Prov. 31:6-7);
  • confusion & delirious dreams (Prov. 23:31, 33);
  • sleepiness (Gen. 9:20-24; 19:33);
  • lack of feeling (Prov. 23:31, 35);
  • bloodshot eyes (Prov. 23:29-30);
  • poverty (Prov. 23:20-21).

Biblically, drinking in excess is clearly wrong.

4.  Church elders and deacons are to be moderate in their use of wine.

  • An elder is to be “not given to drunkenness” (I Tim. 3:3, NIV);
  • A deacon is to be “not indulging in much wine” (I Tim. 3:8, NIV).

God is not saying that church leaders should not drink wine, but that church leaders were to drink wine in moderation.

5.  Wine was a medicine in New Testament times.

  • Paul told Timothy to “use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses” (I Tim. 5:23, NIV). In the ancient world, wine was used to aid the digestive tract, and as a laxative.[9]
  • Prov. 31:6: “Give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to him whose life is bitter.” This is indicating that “strong drink was used as a sedative or pain-killer for the dying, and that wine was also used to calm the nerves.”[10]
  • I Sam. 16:2 says that wine would “refresh those who become exhausted in the desert” (2 Sam. 16:2, NIV).
  • What did the Good Samaritan pour on the wounds of the man who had been beaten by thieves (Luke 10:34)? Oil and wine. It was to help heal wounds.

Biblically, wine had at least four uses as a medicine: a laxative, pain-killer, stimulant to refresh, and to help heal wounds.

That is what the Bible says about wine and strong drink.

However, a number of myths about alcohol have crept into the Bible-believing church.

B.  WHAT THE BIBLE DOES NOT SAY ABOUT ALCOHOL

1.  The Bible does not teach that the wine at the Lord’s supper was unfermented, i.e. non-alcoholic.

I know some fine Christians who insist that alcoholic wine must not be used at the Lord’s Supper. It must be grape juice or some other unfermented drink, they say. People did not know of Sanitarium and Berri grape juice in those days.

I Corinthians 11:21 (one of the chapters dealing with the Lord’s supper) says that some Corinthians were getting drunk at the Lord’s Table. From grape juice? Hardly.

In fact, because of the drunkenness and gluttony around the Lord’s Table, some Corinthians became sick and died (I Cor. 11:30). Judgment fell on the people of God because of their sins around the Lord’s Supper.

It was definitely alcoholic wine used at the Corinthian Lord’s supper.

Perhaps you might observe: That’s not surprising. There were lots of strange things happening in the church at Corinth. They were clearly out of order in many ways. But not once in Paul’s correction of what was happening at Corinth did he say that they must change from alcoholic to non-alcoholic beverage at the Lord’s Supper.

2.  The Bible does not teach that the new wine was non-alcoholic.

Some have taught that the old wine was fermented, but the new wine, especially of the NT, was non-fermented. Two passages refute that idea:

  • Hosea 4:11, “Wine and new wine take away the understanding.”
  • Acts 2:13. On the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended and the people were filled with the Holy Spirit, the crowd said, “They are full of sweet wine [or new wine].”

So, new wine in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, was just as alcoholic/fermented as the old wine.

3.  I am not convinced that it is correct to say that the wine Jesus made at Cana of Galilee was non-alcoholic.

Take a look at John 2, especially verses 9-10. It is called “wine” and “good wine.” It was so good that the people at the wedding feast, who expected the cheaper wine to be brought on at the last, found it was as good as what was used at the beginning.

The word for “wine” (oinos) at Cana, is the same word that appears in Mark 2:22 and Eph. 5:18, “Be not drunk with wine.” It’s clearly alcoholic wine.

4.  It is not biblical to say that the NT teaches that first century Christians did not use wine at any time.

David Wilkerson, the founder of Teen Challenge and the author of The Cross & the Switchblade, was so concerned about the amount of alcohol drinking among the Christian community, particularly in the U.S.A., that he wrote a strong little book against such drinking that he called, Sipping Saints.

I must be true to the Scriptures. No verse in the Bible states that Christians in biblical times abstained from all wine at all times. The biblical commands are against use of “strong drink” and against drunkenness.

5.  Total abstinence from alcoholic beverages was not a condition of membership in the NT church.

Some churches today have a ‘pledge’ in their membership commitment that prohibits the drinking of alcohol. For example, the Salvation Army has this statement regarding church membership. If one wants to become a senior soldier (i.e. church member), he or she pledges to ‘abstain from alcoholic drink, tobacco, the non-medical use of addictive drugs, gambling, pornography, the occult, and all else that could enslave the body or spirit’ (Abstinence from alcohol, Salvation Army New Zealand, Fiji & Tonga). This is the Assemblies of God USA’s statement on ‘abstinence’.

I do not believe it is biblical to conclude that not drinking alcohol should be a condition of church membership.

Nor is it a condition of being a godly believer. That’s a myth perpetuated by some evangelical churches.

Some of you may be wondering where I am heading. Am I advocating that all Christians, including our youth, should be able to drink alcohol freely, as long as they don’t get drunk?

You are jumping to unwarranted conclusions. I have had to be honest with the biblical data.

An important question is:

C.  IS WINE IN AUSTRALIA TODAY THE SAME AS NEW TESTAMENT WINE (OINOS)?

Many Christians today assume that the N.T. wine is identical with wine today. That’s an error. Today’s wine, beer and spirits are, by biblical definition, “strong drink.” And use of that is forbidden by the Bible. Wine in the Bible was essentially purified water.[11]

Homer was a Greek poet who lived in the 8th century before Christ. He said that in his day, wine was 20 parts water and one part wine[12]

A writer after the time of the N.T., Pliny (lived in the 2nd century after Christ), spoke of wine being eight parts water and one part wine.

Aristophanes said wine was three parts water and two parts wine. Other Greek writers said it was three to one.

The average was about three or four parts of water to one part of wine.

In the ancient world, sometimes it was one part water and one part wine — that was considered strong wine. “Anyone who drank wine unmixed [with water] was looked on as a Scythian, a barbarian. That means the Greeks would say today, `You [Australians] are barbarians — drinking straight wine.'”

They said, “Mix it half and half and you get madness: unmixed — bodily collapse.” Here is a pagan saying: “Half and half is madness, and unmixed wine brings death.”

There are several instances in the O.T. where a distinction is made between wine and strong drink (Lev. 10:8-9; Deut. 14:26; 29:6; Judges 13:4).

The Jewish Talmud (writings at the time of the early church) states that the `wine’ of the Passover meal was three parts water and one part wine (cf. 2 Maccabees 15:39).

“In ancient times not many beverages were safe to drink… Water could be made safe in one of several ways. It could be boiled, but this was tedious and costly. Or it could be filtered, but this was not a safe method. Or some wine could be put in the water to kill the germs — one part wine with three or four parts water.”

Wine, beer and spirits in Australia today have a much higher alcoholic content than wine in the N.T. One researcher calculated that “in New Testament times one would need to drink twenty-two glasses of wine in order to consume the large amount of alcohol in two martinis today.”

He put it this way: “In other words, it is possible to become intoxicated from wine mixed with three parts water, but one’s drinking would probably affect the bladder long before the mind.”[13]

What am I saying?

Fermented, alcoholic wine was drunk in Bible times, and the Bible approved of this kind of wine-drinking, as long as one did not become drunk. Drunkenness is clearly sin.

HOWEVER, beer, wine and spirits in Australia today (wine coolers have the same alcoholic content as beer) are what the Bible calls strong drink and is forbidden for believers to use. “Even the ancient pagans did not drink what some Christians drink today.”

(public domain)

D.  HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHETHER TO DRINK ALCOHOL OR NOT?

I suggest asking and answering these four questions:

1.  What are the facts about alcohol?

  • “The average Australian family consumes an estimated 936 cans of beer, 61 bottles of wine and 20 bottles of spirits each year, according to the Australian Drug Foundation…
  • “In 1990, there were an estimated 6600 deaths due to alcohol, representing a quarter of all drug-caused deaths and 5 per cent of all deaths.”[14]
  • [15] Money: How much does drinking cost you? Just three drinks a day every day will cost you more than $1000 a year. Twenty drinks over a weekend will cost you about the same. Some people spend as much as half their income on alcohol. For them drinking is more important than other activities.
  • Work: Drinking could cost you your job. If you are even slightly intoxicated at work, or have a hangover, you can’t work properly. Sometimes you can’t work at all and have to take time off. Around 1 in 15 people in the work force have an alcohol problem. These problems cost Australian industry about one billion dollars (Australian currency) a year.
  • Motor skills: Alcohol affects your co-ordination. It affects your ability to drive any kind of vehicle or operate many kinds of machinery. Alcohol is a common cause of accidents in industry, on the roads and in the home. Alcohol is also a common cause of drowning in Australia.
  • The law: Alcohol can get you into trouble with the law. Drinking and driving are against the law and offences carry heavy penalties. Alcohol is also a factor in more than half the serious crimes in Australia and in about three-quarters of violent crimes committed.
  • Personality: Most drugs affect your mood. Alcohol is a mood changing drug, but it is not a stimulant as many think. Alcohol acts as a depressant and slows you down. It can also make you uninhibited and aggressive and you are still responsible for what you do when you have been drinking.
  • Sex: Alcohol can make you feel less inhibited about sex and more sexually active. But it can often reduce your ability to perform sexually.

It can also make you more aggressive. Alcohol is a major factor in sexual offences like rape, incest and child abuse.

  • Relationships: Alcohol causes many personal and family problems. It is a factor in many unhappy relationships, causing arguments, violence and poverty.

At least 1.5 million Australians are affected by drinking problems in their families. Two in every five divorces and separations are caused by alcohol problems.

“Relationships often break down in a cloud of violence and abuse. The bottle can replace all thought of your partner, friends, job, family… It can all add up to a pretty ugly and depressing picture.” [16]

  • Appearance: Alcohol has no real value as a food, but it contains a lot of kilojoules. Drinking can quickly make you put on weight. Heavy drinkers are often fat, and this increases other health risks, like heart disease. Alcohol also affects the condition of your skin.
  • Health: “Heavy drinking is one sure way of damaging your health. Liver, brain, and pancreas damage; heart and blood disorders; ulcers; and loss of memory are conditions common to many heavy drinkers.”[17]  Regular alcohol use can kill brain cells (and you know what that means?) It can attack your liver in a severe way, for some leading to cirrhosis of the liver.

Recently my wife phoned a friend to cancel out on a job the woman was doing for us. The wife was not home, so the message was given to her husband who answered the phone. After my wife got off the phone, she said to me: “He didn’t sound coherent; or was he drunk?”

Sure enough, that woman turned up at our place at the regular time to do the job. My wife said, “But I phoned your husband earlier in the week and left a message for you not to come.” His wife’s reply was: “He never said a word to me about your message. In fact, I said I was coming to your place as I was leaving and he didn’t mention your message. But then, he had his birthday on the day you phoned and he was probably drunk.”

“How you feel tomorrow depends on how you handled the night before.”[18]

So, if you believe it is okay for a Christian to drink alcohol, you must consider these facts.

2.  Will my alcohol drinking lead me to sin?

The Bible is very clear — drunkenness is sin and will keep you out of the Kingdom of God. I Cor. 6:12 gives a very clear principle: “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable.”

Even if alcohol drinking is permissible, is it profitable for the Christian? It’s profitable for the publican, but is it profitable for you in your life as a believer?

I Cor. 6:12 adds: “All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” If you drink alcohol, you need to ask, “Am I the master of it, or is it the master of me?”

3.  Will my drinking alcohol lead anybody else to sin?

“Am I my brother’s keeper?” The Christian answer is a resounding, “Yes.” Phil. 2:4, “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests but also for the interests of others.” If you drink alcohol, are you considering “the interests of others” (spouse, children, boss, fellow employees, friends, mates who play sport with you, etc.) or is it for your own indulgence and pleasure?

If you are a genuine Christian concerned about your impact on and witness in this city, you must take seriously Romans 14:21: “It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles.”

I have raised three teenagers. I would not dare give my children the example of seeing alcohol in my refrigerator. In this alcohol-soaked country, what a pathetic model I would be to say to my kids: alcohol is destroying families across the nation; accidents, homicides, and abuse are epidemic in Australia, associated with alcohol — but it’s okay for Christians to drink. I believe that is hypocritical.

I must ask: Will my drinking cause anybody else to sin? Even if it is not a problem to me, is it possible that I would cause somebody else to stumble? I’m not talking about mature Christians being offended by your stance, but causing another brother or sister to stumble in his/her Christian growth.

4.  Can alcohol drinking be done to the glory of God?

I Cor. 10:31, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” If you as a Christian cannot be praising God and glorifying Him while you are drinking alcohol, then it is not good for you.

E. WHY I DO NOT DRINK ALCOHOL

This has been my choice and does not make me a better Christian than another. I had one shandy as a 10-year-old kid at a Christmas party where we used to live. I drank a glass of champaign when I was about 24 years old and attended the opening of a bridal boutique when I was program manager at a radio station.

I am a teetotaller because:

1.  I am convinced . . .

There is a strong biblical argument for Aussie alcohol being the equivalent of “strong drink” in the Bible. As a committed Christian, God says I should not have ‘strong drink’ and I must be obedient. My life will always be the loser if I disobey the Lord’s commands. I am committed to pleasing Him, no matter how nice a glass of wine may be or feel. Christ is my Master.

2.  As a counsellor for 34 years . . .

I have counselled enough people and families whose lives have been wrecked by grog, to cure me from any alcohol use for the rest of my life. Heroin, marijuana, LSD, amphetamines are dangerous drugs. But the number one drug problem in Australia is alcohol abuse.

I counsel young people to keep away from that dangerous mind-altering drug marijuana. But young people have every right to say to adults: “You hypocrites! You approve of your drug, alcohol, and look at what it does to families and the nation! And you disapprove of our drug, marijuana.”

It’s very difficult to convince young people to quit marijuana use when adults are into booze. However, it’s a myth to say that marijuana is no more harmful than cigarettes or alcohol.

3.  We in Australia have plenty of wholesome non-alcoholic beverages available.

4.  Australia is an alcohol-soaked culture.

“Heroin is not the biggest drug problem among young people. Nor is marijuana [although it is a dangerous mind-altering drug.] The use of ICE has tragic consequences.

However, “the highest contributor to death and serious injury among Australia’s youth is alcohol, according to a NSW Health Department document: “In the 15-34 age group [in NSW], of 1409 drug-related deaths [in one year], 915 were alcohol-related.”[19]

This NSW document said, “It is imperative that control elements for reduction or prevention of harm be developed.”  In the A.C.T., a 1991 schools’ survey of alcohol and drug use

“Showed that 40 per cent of boys in Years 7 to 11 and 30 per cent of girls reported binge drinking in the four weeks before the survey. Binge drinking is having five or more drinks in a row. . .  Studies showed that most youth tended to do their drinking at home or at a friend’s place with no supervision  This indicated that action was needed at a community level to encourage more responsibility among parents.[20]

“A study of 5000 Victorian students found half of year 11 students drink regularly, 46 per cent have travelled in a car with a driver, often a parent, affected by alcohol, and 24 per cent had been sexually harassed by a drunk person.”[21]http://www.normgeisler.com/

The New South Wales Government was calling for “control elements for reduction or prevention of harm” from alcohol use. The ACT Government is calling for “action . . . at the community level to encourage more responsibility among parents.” How then can we, who love Jesus, be contributing to the problem rather than preventing it?

I refuse to be a model of a destructive, alcohol-drinking lifestyle for my children, the youth I counsel, and the Christian community of which I am part.

5.  Total abstinence is the safer policy.

Would you fly in an aeroplane if you knew there was a 1 in 15 chance that the plane would crash? The chances of a plane crashing are much lower than that. But the chances of having an alcohol problem in the work force are 1 in 15.

Australia is an alcohol-saturated society.

Will you as Christians join me in a vow never to use alcohol (or any illegal drug)? Will you voluntarily abstain from all alcohol consumption?

This abstinence does not make you more spiritual. Nor does the Bible say Christians must abstain from all alcohol. This is our voluntary protest against the abuse of alcohol in Australian society.

One of the main reasons people drink alcohol is to provide relaxation and enjoyment. Is God a cosmic killjoy who wants to zap you of peace and enjoyment? Absolutely not!

He wants you to experience genuine peace and real joy — the peace of God and the joy of Christ. As Eph. 5:18 puts it, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit” (NIV).

GOD WANTS YOU TO HAVE PEACE WITHOUT GOING TO PIECES.

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney Australia) reported this incident (Accessed 6 February 2016):

Andrew Johns allegedly passes out at Toowoomba airport 

RADIO broadcaster Ray Hadley [2GB, 4BC & network stations] has lashed out at rugby league immortal Andrew Johns for lewd comments allegedly made by the former footy star to a mother at a Queensland airport.

Describing the comments as “abhorrent”, the 4BC announcer chastised Johns on air for his actions.

The Channel 9 commentator is said to have approached the mother of three at a Toowoomba airport, asking her for a kiss before inquiring whether she had given birth via caesarean.

King David said of God (Ps. 16:11): “You show me the path of life. In your presence is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”[22]

It is shameful for Christians to have to resort to grog to relax when the “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” is available to them.[23]

It is an insult to the Holy Spirit when we have to seek superficial pleasure from stimulants when He can give us the permanent joy of the Holy Spirit.

I enthusiastically recommend the article by Norman Geisler, ‘To Drink or Not to Drink: A sober look at the question‘.

GOD DESIRES THAT YOUR PLEASURES BE SPIRIT-DIRECTED, NOT SELF-CENTRED; THAT THEY BE HELPFUL, NOT HARMFUL.


Notes:

[1] I retired in 2011 as an Australian family counsellor and counselling manager. I am indebted to the article, ‘A Christian Perspective on Wine-Drinking, Norman L. Geisler, Bibliotheca Sacra, January-March, 1982, pp. 6-56, that helped me clarify the differences between wine and strong drink, biblically. I have taken many of Geisler’s ideas and contextualised them for the Australian scene. For a different perspective, see: ‘A “Biblical” View of Alcohol: Another Thought’ (Preston Sprinkle, 2014).

[2] “A devil too many of us know well,” The Canberra Times, March 3, 1992, p. 21.

[3] “Legal drug abuse more costly than illegal use,” The Canberra Times, April 7, 1993, p. 19.

[4] Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the New American Standard Bible.

[5] Deuteronomy 21:20-21.

[6] New International Version (NIV).

[7] Geisler, p. 47.

[8] NIV.

[9] Geisler, p. 48.

[10] Ibid.

[11] The following details are taken from Geisler, pp. 50-51.

[12] Odyssey 9: pp. 208-9.

[13] Robert H. Stein, in Geisler, p. 51.

[14] “Legal drug abuse more costly than illegal use,” The Canberra Times, April 7, 1994, p. 19.

[15] The following information is from the Queensland Health Pamphlet on Alcohol, reproduced in Drug Stop insert in the Fraser Coast (Maryborough, Qld.) Chronicle.

[16] “How will you feel tomorrow?” A pamphlet published by The Drug Offensive: A Federal and State initiative, p. 6. To obtain: outside Brisbane in Queensland, phone (008) 177 833.

[17] As in note [15], p. 4.

[18] Ibid.

[19] “Alcohol strategy to combat biggest threat to young people,” The Canberra Times, July 25, 1992, p. 5.

[20] “Call to limit access to alcohol,” The Canberra Times, December 4, 1992, p. 2.

[21] “Alcohol a part of teen lives,” The Canberra Times, October 1, 1993, p. 18.

[22] New Revised Standard Version of the Bible (NRSV).

[23] Phil. 4:7, NRSV.

 

Copyright © 2007 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 4 April 2017.

FlowerFlowerFlowerFlowerFlowerFlowerFlower

How to talk to your child about alcohol and other drug use

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

Alcohol or drug use, particularly when it may involve a member of your family, is a very emotionally loaded issue. Thus, it is quite natural that many parents are at a loss to know how to begin to handle this problem within the family.  The following guidelines were prepared by counsellors trained in working with young people to provide parents with some basic ideas for use in dealing with this issue.

pot is fun1. Become informed about alcohol and drugs and their effects. Be a credible source of information for your child.

2. Make your position on alcohol and drug use clear to your children so that they know where you stand, even if you have no indications they are involved.

3. Husband and wife should try to reach agreement with each other over handling the issue. There should be consistency and mutual support in your communications with your child on this subject.

4. Be aware that the behaviour you are expecting from your children may be different from that of their peers and that peer acceptance may be of paramount importance to them. Work with them so that they understand the reasons for your expectations. Strengthen their feelings of self-confidence and independence.

5. If you suspect alcohol or drug use, avoid unproductive accusations. These often result in denial. Sit down with your children and discuss calmly any suspicions you have. Talk about your personal concern for them, as well as their wrong-doing. Try to keep discussions on a rational level. Overly emotional, angry outbursts frequently serve only to cut off parent-child communication prematurely.

6. If you see evidence of alcohol or drug use (i.e. physical or psychological symptoms or drug apparatus in their possession), restate your position and make clear the consequences you are prepared to enact. Make sure you are prepared to follow through with the consequences you set. Empty threats are meaningless to a child.

7. Avoid “labelling” or name-calling. You are not dealing with your child’s character at this stage, but with his/her behaviour. Try to remain calm and avoid saying things which tend to further alienate you from your child. The goal of communication is to help him/her understand that, although you are concerned about and disapprove of his/her behaviour, you still love him/her.

8. Try to maintain good communication with your children’s teachers. Let them know you are interested in their progress in school and would be appreciative of feedback from them regarding their academic and social behaviour. Make your child aware of this so that the children realise there exists a “parent-teacher coalition.”

9. Make it your business to get to know your child’s friends, who their parents are, where and with whom he/she is socialising, whether or not parties will be supervised by adults, and so on. Don’t be afraid to communicate with parents of your child’s friends. Introduce yourself to them in person or by telephone. As a general rule, parents have the bests interests of their children in mind and need to reach out and support each other. Make sure that your child is aware you are establishing communication with his/her friends’ parents – being secretive only breeds mistrust.

10. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help. Counsellors trained in working with children and adolescents can help by re-opening communication between parent and child, providing a neutral ground for expression of feelings, and serving to “de-fuse” the climate of tension within families which sometimes develops over issues such as alcohol and drug use.

Flower23Flower23Flower23Flower23Flower23Flower23

Whytehouse Designs


Marijuana is not a soft drug: Here’s the evidence!

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

 

Image result for marijuana bush public domain

(public domain)

By Spencer D Gear

 

Since 1965, over 12,500 scientific research papers on marijuana have been published.  These papers have been collated on a major data base by Dr Carlton Turner of the University of Mississippi – Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences.  The papers have been listed in a publication entitle, “An Annotated Bibliography of Marijuana,” Volumes 1 & 11 and supplements .  None of these papers gives marijuana a clean bill of health.

Yet some want to say that the “the benefits of smoking marijuana outweigh any potential harms” (Professor Miron), but this is refuted by top medical authorities. Dr. Susan Dalterio, a University of Texas (San Antonio) senior lecturer in the Department of Biology, told a drug conference: that she feels like screaming when she hears about the alleged medical benefits of marijuana. “This is just crazy, it’s totally nuts,” she told the audience.

Marijuana has some beneficial effects on pain, she admitted, but other drugs do a better job and their safety and consistency are assured by the federal government. A synthetic version of  marijuana is now available in pill form by prescription. It has been successful in treating nausea, pain and anorexia. People no longer have an excuse for smoking marijuana for medical reasons, she said (“Expert Urges Tough Fight Against Drugs,” James Hagengruber, Billings Gazette, Montana, 25 September 2003). [1]

The toxicity of a drug is not determined by debate or opinion.  It is determined by research.
“Marijuana is an addicting substance with a physiological withdrawal syndrome”  [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatry, 4th edition (DSM-IV)]

Terminology

Portal icon marijuana:  (mexican) frequently referring to cannabis leaves or other crude plant material in many countries.
Portal iconsinsemilla: unpollinated female plants.
Portal iconhashish:  resin from the flowering tops of cannabis plants.

Portal iconhashish oil:   (cannabis oil) is a concentrate of cannabinoids obtained by solvent extraction of the crude plant material or of the resin.
Portal iconcannabis: a synonymous term with marijuana as it is derived from the plant Cannabis Sativa.

What is marijuana?

Marijuana is one derivative of the plant Cannabis Sativa.  Marijuana contains 426 bioactive (biologically active) molecules, increasing to over 2000 identifiable chemicals entering the bloodstream when it is smoked.  61 of the 426 bioactive molecules are called cannabinoids.

Portal iconOf these cannabinoids the most destructive is a toxin (poison) called ‘-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).  Marijuana  accumulates in fatty tissue and is still detectable 3 months after abstinence.  The THC acts like a time release capsule, constantly and steadily releasing into the blood stream, keeping the user in a state of mild yet continual sedation.

Cannabinoids are not water soluble.  They are lipophilic (fat soluble) and collect in the fatty tissue of cell walls.  They block the passage of nutrients into a cell and block waste products from exiting the cells.  Two major areas of collection are the brain (of which 33% is fat) and the sex organs.  Others are the adrenal glands, liver, kidneys and heart.
Note:  The body’s waste removal system is water based and therefore not well equipped to remove fat-soluble substances.

Physical symptoms of withdrawal are mild as the THC cannot be withdrawn from the body as rapidly as in alcohol or even heroin.  The body has a lingering store within the fatty tissue and saturated fat may not lose the cannabinoid for 9 months or more depending on the amount and duration of use.

Any attempt to summarise the health effects of cannabis, as with any psychoactive substance, runs the risk of over simplification.  The manner in which the drug affects a person is very much individualised based on the users own makeup, quality and quantity and type of drug, duration of use, method of administration, prior experience and tolerance level as well as environmental, biological and genetic factors.

With this in mind, the following data are provided as an indication of the effects, either individually or collectively, which the user will suffer with the use of cannabis.  Many of these effects however will not be seen or noticed until the damage is done.  The user may state that there is no effect.

 

Summary of the effects or results of marijuana use

Bong Wikipedia

1.    One cigarette (joint) impairs the short term memory for at least 6 weeks.  There are many studies demonstrating the deterioration of short term memory in marijuana users.  The definitive and best controlled of these was done in 1989 by Dr Richard Schwartz.  He demonstrated persisting impairment of short term memory six weeks after supervised abstention from the drug.  Just one joint is all that is needed.  (Dr’s Richard Schwartz, Gruenewald, M Klitzner et al “Memory Impairment In Cannabis Dependent Adolescents”, Am, J. Dis, Child, 143:1214-19, 1989 – Georgetown Medical School – Washington DC).  Take a read of this one from The New Scientist, “Natural high helps banish bad times.”

2.    In a major study to investigate the effects of cannabis on motor skills, twenty four hours after one cigarette (joint), experienced pilots performed severely impaired simulator landings.  These pilots reported that they felt absolutely fine, with normal mood, alertness and performance and were completely unaware of their impairment.  Several major rail crashes in     the USA have been associated with the use of marijuana.  (Dr JA Yesavage, VO Leirer, DG Morrow, Stanford University – “Marijuana carry over effects on aircraft pilot performance” – Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine, 62:221-27, 1991)  Marijuana use is a continuing concern to paediatricians.

What about road accidents?

The front ends of two cars after colliding

Courtesy Wikipedia

Cannabis and driving: a new perspective” by Carl J O’Kane, Douglas C Tutt and Lyndon A Bauer, warns of the influence of marijuana use on one’s ability when driving a motor vehicle [Emergency Medicine, Volume 14 Issue 3 Page 296  – September 2002].  Whilst much research exists from overseas relating to increased risk of motor vehicle accidents due to marijuana use, the following Australian data are significant.

Dr Judith Perl, pharmacologist, of the Clinical Forensic Medicine Unit – NSW Police Service released information in 1991 of a study conducted over the period 1987-90.  The study involved taking blood and urine samples from accident victims in four Sydney hospitals at random.  The only qualifier was that those measuring .05 BAC [blood-alcohol concentration], or known to have consumed alcohol were not tested for other drug use.  The increase in positive testing for cannabis in the blood of these victims was staggering, increasing from 28% (87-88) to 68% (1990).  [See also Judith Perl,  “Drugs & traffic safety”, Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences 17:25]Mrs Kate Carnell stated in “Debates of the Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory” (Hansard, 9 September 1992, p. 2077) that:

“Cannabis is clearly a cause of driver impairment – a fact of which we are becoming incresasingly aware.  A study conducted by Dr. Judith Perl, of the forensic unit of the New South Wales Police, shows that cannabis is the single most important source of driver impairment discovered in blood and urine samples.  Cannabis constituted 68 per cent of all drug-positive urine and blood tests conducted in New South Wales during 1990.  Thus the threat that cannabis poses to driving safety is not idle and it must not be ignored.  We know that alcohol also affects driving ability, judgment and skill performance, but the residual effects of cannabis last much longer than those of alcohol.”

3.    A 15 year research project at the Karolinska Institute and Juddinge University Hospital, Sweden, revealed a 600% increase in the incidence of schizophrenia in conscripts who had used marijuana 50 times or more in their lifetime.  This study used a standardised method for the diagnosis of schizophrenia.  (Longitudinal study at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden – 15 year study using 45570 army conscripts – Dr Sven Andreasson,  P Allerbeck, A Engstrom et al., Cannabis and Schizophrenia: A Longitudinal Study of Swedish Conscripts.  The Lancet, 2:1483 -1485,1987).

4.    A parallel study showed a 500% increase in the overall incidence of other psychiatric disorders in conscripts who were users. (Andreasson, S; Allerbeck, P; Rydberg, U., “Schizophrenia in Users and Non Users of Cannabis”  Acta Psychiatr. Scan., 79:505-510, 1989)  The use of cannabis in adolescence and risk for adult psychosis was examined in a New Zealand: longitudinal prospective study.  It found that “early cannabis use (by age 15) confers greater risk for schizophrenia outcomes than later cannabis use (by age 18). The youngest cannabis users may be most at risk because their cannabis use becomes longstanding.” [BMJ BMJ. 2002 November 23; 325 (7374): 1212–1213] [2].  The New Scientist reports on another study confirming the “Cannabis link to mental illness strengthened“.

5.    The Swedish study scientifically linked marijuana to the dramatic increase in drug-induced schizophrenoform illness and the associated increase in teenage suicide rates and other violent death (as above )

6.    The so called “Amotivational syndrome” –
Portal icon  Apathy, poor judgement, lack of self care,
Portal icon  Decreased empathy (perception of others problems)
Portal icon  Impaired perception of past, present and future.
Portal icon  Difficulty with information processing.
Portal icon  Difficulty with sequential dialogue.
(Goodman & Gilman – “The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics” 8th Ed. 1991)  For the latest edition.

Dr Robert C Gilkeson, – a teacher, paediatrician, adolescent neuropsychiatrist and brain researcher, specialising in early childhood development and learning disabilities, moved in 1987 (after some years of paediatric practice and consultancy) to devote his time to research the effects of marijuana on brain function.  Up until his untimely death in 1993, he was the Director of the Center for Drug Education and Brain Research.  He summarised his general findings in a paper to the US Committees of Correspondence, Drug Watch division with this quote:

“My research studies of youngsters from kindergarten through high school show previously well adjusted and intellectually endowed children falling apart academically and emotionally in the teenage years with the only new factor being that of occasional marijuana use.  Marijuana use can lead to an inability to retain strong self image, and an inability to visualise and plan for the future.  Using marijuana makes ‘great’ people feel average, and ‘average’ people ‘dumb’.  Marijuana use is toxic to all cells, and most especially toxic to brain cells.

“In 1981, my eight year study of 90 adolescent marijuana smokers was completed.  Each youths brain wave tracings (EEG) showed dysfunction (decreased activity) similar to brain wave tracings of the learning disabled.  A decrease in brain cell energy causes a decline in the level and complexity of thought and behaviour.  ‘Burned out’ kids with impairment to both their frontal lobe and their short term memory due to chronic intoxification of marijuana were evident.

“These impairments are the cause of the increased violent and non violent juvenile crime, truancy and school drop out, teenage runaways and vagrancy, teenage prostitution and pregnancy, venereal disease, adolescent depression and suicide, polysubstance use and adolescent psychiatric referrals.  Most alarming of all is the fact that we have witnessed the appearance of a new chronic organic brain syndrome called ‘burnout’ caused by marijuana use.”

 

Portal iconPortal icon Portal icon

Recent research in animals has also suggested that long-term use of marijuana (THC) produces changes in the limbic system that are similar to those that occur after long-term use of other major drugs of abuse such as cocaine, heroin, and alcohol. These changes are most evident during withdrawal from THC. During withdrawal, there are increases in both the levels of a brain chemical involved in stress and certain emotions and the activity of neurons in the amygdala. These same kinds of changes also occur during withdrawal from other drugs of abuse, suggesting that there may be a common factor in the development of drug dependence (Connecticut Clearinghouse, “Marijuana: The Brain’s Response to Drugs,” 1999).

In 1992, a study assessed the acute effects of cannabis on human cognition.  This study found that cannabis impaired all capabilities of learning including associated processes and psychomotor performance.  (Block RI, Farinpour R & Braverman K., “Acute effects of marijuana on cognition: relationship to chronic effects and smoking techniques. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behaviour,” 1992, 43(3):907-917).  Here is a summary of that research.  Also take a look at: “Marijuana use during pregnancy damages kid’s learning” (The New Scientist).

“Much recent research is showing us exactly how marijuana impairs the brain. For instance, three days or more after smoking marijuana, PET scans of chronic marijuana users show decreased metabolic activity in the brain, especially in the cerebellum, a part of the brain involved with motor coordination, learning, and memory [Volkow ND et al., Psychiatric Research Neuroimaging 67:29-38, 1996]” (quoted from, “Prof. Miron Is Wrong About Marijuana,” Janet D. Lapey, M.D., The Massachusetts News Columnist, February 2000).  However, The New Scientist claims that “Controversy still rages over whether cannabis damages the brain.”

For a summary of information for teenagers see:  “Tips for Teens: The Truth About Marijuana.” 

7.    Four times the cancer causing potential of cigarettes.  Cancers of the mouth and jaw usually seen in men (over 60 ) who had been heavy smokers and drinkers for decades have been found in young users.  All had been daily marijuana users but had not smoked nicotine and only used a small amount of alcohol if any.  Study group was young men between 19-38 who had developed squamous cell cancers of the tongue or jaw with lymph node involvement. (PJ Donald – “Marijuana Smoking – Possible Causes of Head and Neck Carcinoma in Young Patients” Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, 94:517-521, 1986 – University of California, and Hoffman, D.; Brunnermann, KD.; Gori, GB.; Wynder, EL., “On the Carcinogenicity of Marijuana Smoke”.  In: Runeckles, VC., ed. Recent Advances in Phytochemistry, New York: Plenium, 1975:63-81.) 

The New Scientist reports on “Cannabis smoking ‘more harmful’ than tobacco.”

“Marijuana smoking is associated with a dose-dependent increased risk of head and neck cancer. . .  Marijuana is a risk factor for human head and neck cancer ” (“Marijuana Use and Increased Risk Zuo-Feng Zhang, Hal Morgenstern, Margaret R. Spitz, Donald P. Tashkin, Guo-Pei Yu, James R. Marshall, T. C. Hsu and Stimson P. Schantz,  Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention Vol. 8, 1071-1078, December 1999) 

Here’s a summary of risk factors for head and neck cancer, including the use of marijuana.

Although scientists have been convinced in the past that smoking causes lung cancer, the strong statistical associations did not provide absolute proof. This paper absolutely pinpoints that mutations in lung cancer cells are caused by benzopyrene. An average marijuana cigarette contains 30 nanograms of this carcinogen compared to 21 nanograms in an average tobacco cigarette (Marijuana and Health, National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine report, 1982). This potent carcinogen suppresses a gene that controls growth of cells. When this gene is damaged the body becomes more susceptible to cancer. This gene, P53, is related to half of all human cancers and as many as 70% of lung cancers.

Commentary: Clearly marijuana smoke contains more of the potent carcinogen benzopyrene than tobacco smoke. Furthermore, the technique of smoking marijuana by inhaling deeply and holding the smoke within the lungs presents a chance of much greater exposure than a conventional tobacco cigarette. (Commentary provided by William M. Bennett M.D., Professor of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, Clinical Pharmacology and Hypertension at Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, Oregon.  This information is from Drug Watch Oregon).

8.  Depression of the immune system at both humoural (body fluids) and cell immunity levels. In fact the immune system response is lowered by up to 40%.  Studies have shown for instance that young people who are users tend to be ill more frequently than non users.  Dr Akira Morishima has found that marijuana more than any other drug he had studied is closely     correlated with a high rate of chromosome damage or destruction particularly in relation to T- lymphocytes (white blood cells). [Friedman, H; Klein, TW; Newton, CA; Widen, R., “The Effects of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and 11-hydroxy-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol on 7-lymphocyte and B-lymphocyte Mitogen Response”. J. Immunopharmacol., 7,451,1985 Florida University – 1985 &1994 Drugs of Abuse and the Immune System; 1st International Symposium Paris 1990  & A Morishima, GG Nahas & et al].

“There is good evidence that THC and other cannabinoids can impair both cell-mediated and humoral immune system functioning, leading to decreased resistance to infection by viruses and bacteria. However, the health relevance of these findings to human marijuana use remains uncertain. Conclusive evidence for increased malignancy, or enhanced acquisition of HIV, or the development of AIDS, has not been associated with marijuana use” (National Institutes of Health – Workshop on the Medical Utility of Marijuana, February 19-20, 1997)

For a contrary opinion, see “Marijuana and Immunity,” Leo E. Hollister M.D. (Journal of Psychoactive Drugs pp. 159-163 Vol. 24 Apr-Jun 1992).

Portal icon9.    Fertility and other sexual development problems in males and females.

Males: sperm production is reduced, sperm motility reduced, production of testosterone and other hormones are reduced or delayed, which inhibits normal sexual development in males.  Studies indicate that sometimes this sexual developmental delay leads to lack of interest in females and normal copulatory behaviour.  Another side effect is the chromosomal damage (up to three times the normal rate) giving rise to the inability to produce normal pregnancy.

Females:  marijuana can cause defective menstrual cycles, damage the ovum, cause production of high levels of testosterone, and significantly reduce levels of prolactin, which is required for milk production.  Additionally females who use during pregnancy or who have residual levels of THC still present in their bodies are shown to produce lower than normal birthweight babies and, especially males with a higher than normal mortality rate. (Dr Wylie Hambree et al Columbia University; Dr Susan Dalterio University of Texas; Mendelsen JH et al Journal of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics, 1978, 207:611-617; Dr Ethel Sassanrath, University of California; Hingson et al ‘Paediatrics’, vol 70 Oct 92 – Marijuana Alert.  Hatch, E; Bracken, M., “Effect of Marijuana Use on Foetal Growth.”  Am. J. Epidemiol. 124, 986, 1986.  Fried, P; Watkinson, B; Willan, A., “Marijuana Use in Pregnancy and Decreased Length of Gestation.”   Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol., 105, 23, 1984)

A new study at the University of Buffalo, USA, has found: “Men who smoke marijuana frequently have significantly less seminal fluid, a lower total sperm count and their sperm behave abnormally, all of which may affect fertility adversely, a new study in reproductive physiology at the University of Buffalo has shown” (University of Buffalo Reporter, October 23, 2003).

Researcher Peter Fried, a psychologist at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, “told New Scientist (25 March 2003) that as well as affecting memory and learning, exposure to marijuana during pregnancy has a strong effect on visual mapping and analysis in human children.”

10.    DNA metabolism is inhibited thus interfering with cell function and replication.  The blockage of this process results in slowing down the manufacture of DNA, RNA and proteins in the cell nucleus – a process essential for cell life.  (B. Desoize; G Nahas; C Latour; R Vistelle,  University of Champagne – Ardenne, “In Vivo Inhibition of Enterocyte Metabolism by Delta-9-THC” Pro. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med., 181, pp. 512-516, 1986)

11.    Associated with the above the THC enlarges the area between each cell, resulting in poor transmission of nerve impulses.  This can lead to impaired speech and comprehension of complex ideas, loss of memory, difficulty in concentrating, insomnia, lack of body coordination and loss of muscle strength, impaired vision and unexpected mood changes.  (RG Heath et al – “Chronic Marijuana Smoking  – its effect on the Function and Structure of the Primate Brain”.)
Again associated with the issue of DNA, RNA, cell function and replication is the issue of birth abnormalities being produced in the offspring of parents who have used or are still using marijuana.  These abnormalities closely resemble those of thalidomide babies although where thalidomide produced such abnormalities called phecomelia – in place of hands and feet, new borns had seal-like flippers.

Marijuana is responsible for defects such as non-existent limbs, phocomelia, syndactyly (fingers are fused together rendering them useless), missing hands and forearms, webbing of the hands, lack of nails, club feet and hydrocephalus (so called water on the brain).  Dr Virchel E Wood, Orthopedic Surgeon & Associate Professor of the School of Medicine – Dept of Orthopedic Surgery – Loma Linda University (USA) has indicated that abnormalities can occur in the young of one or both parents who have been shown to have used marijuana.  People who use marijuana and other drugs have 18 times more birth defects than non users.

n research reported in 2003, Drs Kenneth L. Audus, and Michael J. Soares of the Institute of Maternal-Fetal Biology concluded that “illicit drugs (e.g. cocaine, marijuana, etc) taken by the mother at virtually any time during gestation have the potential to adversely affect the outcome of pregnancy, resulting in severe complications for the mother, pre-term birth, abnormalities in fetal development and increased health risks as the newborn grows into adulthood” [” Dr. Audus is an internationally recognized expert on drug metabolism and drug transport by the placenta, while Dr. Soares’ expertise resides in understanding mechanisms controlling the growth and development of the placenta”] (News Release, September 1, 2003).
Dr Susan Dalterio of the University of Texas (San Antonio) has noted in extensive studies that genetic mutations have passed through to the second generation of offspring of marijuana users.

Such warnings [about marijuana use linked to psychoses] should not surprise the scientists who have for many years maintained that the THC contained in marijuana is dangerous. First, in the late 1960’s Dr. Robert Heath, then chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology at Tulane Medical School, found that marijuana affects brain waves and destroys brain cells. [3] Second, a study conducted by Dr. Ethel Sassenrath at the University of California at Davis between 1974 and 1978 found that THC increased the rate of fetal loss (in utero, fetal death) in monkeys by over 300%, while at the same time decreasing the birth weights in those babies born alive. [4] Third, a study by Dr. Susan Dalterio, at the University of Texas found that marijuana decreased testosterone and impaired sexual development in male mice. [5] Finally, a study by Dr. Albert Munson found that injections of THC suppressed the immune systems of mice and made them 96 times more susceptible to the herpes virus. [6] (Schaffer Library of Drug Policy)

12.    1100% increase in the incidence of acute non lymphoblastic leukaemia in the offspring of mothers who used while pregnant or just prior to conception.  The research also indicated that that these children developed the leukaemia earlier – 19 months instead of the usual 93 months.  (Professor Neglia et al Minnesota University – reported 1990 and Robson et al Children’s Cancer Study Group – reported in “Cancer” 63:1904-1910, 1989)

13.    Marijuana prevents liver enzyme CP450 from breaking down anti-depressant medication thus causing an accumulation of the anti-depressant in the body which can result in death (Dr John Anderson – Neuro Scientist, Consultant, Psychophysiologist – Neuroscience Psychological Services Centre,  Westmead,  Sydney NSW).  It is tragic for the scientific cause of the investigation of the impact of marijuana and anti-depressants that Dr. Anderson died in 2002.

  I would like to see in-depth research conducted to follow-up Dr. Anderson’s pioneering work.  Here is a summary of Dr. John Anderson’s preliminary research.  Further, Dr. Anderson contended:

Statistics suggest that 40% of ADHD children are predisposed to substance abuse during adolescence or adulthood. Of the ADHD population who are poly substance users, 67% smoke marijuana. Many behavioural changes are similar to those of ADHD: academic ability decreases; sniffles, colds, trivial illness, especially respiratory system; concentration levels decrease; depersonalisation; increased levels of anxiety; increased depression; reaction times slows; short-term memory difficulties; a lack of motivation or interest in things previously enjoyed; increased impulsivity; space and time distortion; may increase appetite.  (A summary of a talk presented by John Anderson to ADDult, NSW, Australia)


14.    Marijuana use and its link to other illicit drugs, is not genetic according to
Michael Lynskey, at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri, and his team [who] found that the early user [of marijuana] was two to five times more likely to go on to use harder drugs or become dependent on alcohol – regardless of whether they were an identical twin or not.

    The fact that identical twins, who share all their genes, did not differ from non-identical twins, who share half, suggests that the progression is not the product of genes. (The New Scientist, 21 January 2003, based on an article in the  Journal of the American Medical Association, vol 289, pp. 427, 482).

15.  Yet, there is a rising swell of support for marijuana use across Europe and Canada, according to The New Scientist

For further marijuana research summaries, see the Drug Watch Oregon website.  See “Marijuana: Facts for Teens.”

Here’s another summary of the dangers of marijuana use.
Here’s a short summary of the effects of marijuana (a summary of this article).

Notes:

1.  Susan Dalterio is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biology at the University of Texas at San Antonio.  Her email contact is:  sdalterio@utsa.edu

2.  Copyright © 2002, BMJ BMJ. 2002 November 23; 325 (7374): 1212–1213, “Cannabis use in adolescence and risk for adult psychosis: longitudinal prospective study, ” Louise Arseneault, lecturer, Mary Cannon, Wellcome Trust advanced fellow, Richie Poulton, director, Dunedin multidisciplinary health and development study, Robin Murray, professor, Avshalom Caspi, professor, Terrie E Moffitt, professor. 

SGDP Research Centre, King’s College, London SE5 8AF, Division of Psychological Medicine, King’s College, Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Correspondence to: T E Moffitt t.moffitt@iop.kcl.ac.uk. 

3.  Robert G. Health, “Cannabis Sativa: Effects on Brain Function,” Biological Psychiatry, Vol. 15, No. 5, 1980.

4. Government’s Supplemental Sentencing Memorandum Re: Health Effects of Marijuana, U.S. v. Greyshock, United States District Court for the District of Hawaii, 1988.

5.  Ibid.

6.  Ibid.

 
Copyright © 2014 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 9 October 2015.

Flower23Flower23Flower23Flower23Flower23Flower23

Whytehouse Designs

Sudden death of David Wilkerson

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

By Spencer D Gear

David Wilkerson

My friend and Christian colleague, Aeron Morgan, posted this information on his website: [1]

Today, Thursday 28 April 2011, here in Australia we have received the sad news of the sudden and tragic death of our dear Brother David Wilkerson, a beloved, humble and faithful servant of our Lord Jesus Christ. The following web-link will take you to a fuller report, put out so promptly by Charisma magazine, of the fatal accident.

This will be a tremendous shock and loss to our fellow believers at Times Square, but believe that God will graciously undertake for Pastor Carter Conlan as he now has the task of guiding the saints there through this hour of sorrow and immense loss. The added painful news is that Brother Wilkerson’s wife, Gwendolyn, was with him in the car and is in hospital with injuries which are reported to be critical.

I am sure that YOU will join the many thousands around the world in prayer for Sister Wilkerson and the family in their bereavement and that she will be fully recovered from her injuries. Pray also for the dear saints at Times Square Church, that God will comfort their saddened hearts, losing an outstanding champion for truth and holiness. We salute the memory of such a dedicated servant of Christ. We are the poorer for his passing, but we cannot question God’s goodness and wisdom, committing the things we don’t understand to HIM “who doeth all things well.” Many of us have been privileged to visit Times Square Church, tremendously impressed with what God has wrought there. TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

The Pentecostal world in particular will miss such a needed voice for God in these days of compromise and worldliness, and that faithful prophetic call back to the “old paths” our brother was known for. May God visit us in this late hour prior to the coming of our Lord Jesus. David Wilkerson longed for such a move of God’s Holy Spirit, not only across his beloved America, but in the nations of our world at this troublesome time. Let’s be part of the remnant that will manifest something of the same godliness and passion as our dear brother, together bear something of the burden he shouldered for so long – for without question: IT IS TIME TO SEEK THE LORD.

 

You can read further details on the Charisma magazine website, “David Wilkerson killed in car crash“. The Christian Broadcasting Network has also reported the tragedy in, “Rev. David Wilkerson killed in TX car crash”. Christianity Today reported the sad news in, “David Wilkerson killed in car crash“. Beliefnet reported that “Famed New York City street preacher, author David Wilkerson killed in car crash“.

This Associated Press (USA Today) news item, “Times Square church founder dies in Texas crash”, stated that David Wilkerson was not wearing a seat belt in the car that crashed, when the USA requires the wearing of seat belts:

Wilkerson was not wearing a seat-belt at the time of the crash, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. His wife, Gwendolyn, was also in the car and was wearing a seat-belt, Mange said. She was taken to a hospital, where she was in stable condition with cuts and bruises, Mange said.

I have a particular affinity with Teen Challenge as I was part of its training ministry in drug rehabilitation in Canberra, Australia, for a couple of years in the early 1990s and in the early 1970s I engaged in ministry from a Teen Challenge coffee shop with the needy on the streets of The Valley, Brisbane.

David Wilkerson will be remembered for his pioneering work in Christian drug rehabilitation that was described in his seminal publication, The Cross and the Switchblade. It story became the film, The Cross and the Switchblade, that starred Pat Boone as David Wilkerson.

(image courtesy beliefnet)

Here is what he wrote in his very last blog, “David Wilkerson Today” of 27 April 2011, the very day he died:

To believe when all means fail is exceedingly pleasing to God and is most acceptable. Jesus said to Thomas, “You have believed because you have seen, but blessed are those that do believe and have not seen” (John 20:29).

Blessed are those who believe when there is no evidence of an answer to prayer—who trust beyond hope when all means have failed.

Someone has come to the place of hopelessness—the end of hope—the end of all means. A loved one is facing death and doctors give no hope. Death seems inevitable. Hope is gone. The miracle prayed for is not happening.

That is when Satan’s hordes come to attack your mind with fear, anger, overwhelming questions: “Where is your God now? You prayed until you had no tears left. You fasted. You stood on promises. You trusted.”

Blasphemous thoughts will be injected into your mind: “Prayer failed. Faith failed. Don’t quit on God—just do not trust him anymore. It doesn’t pay!”

Even questioning God’s existence will be injected into your mind. These have been the devices of Satan for centuries. Some of the godliest men and women who ever lived were under such demonic attacks.

To those going through the valley and shadow of death, hear this word: Weeping will last through some dark, awful nights—and in that darkness you will soon hear the Father whisper, “I am with you. I cannot tell you why right now, but one day it will all make sense. You will see it was all part of my plan. It was no accident. It was no failure on your part. Hold fast. Let me embrace you in your hour of pain.”

Beloved, God has never failed to act but in goodness and love. When all means fail—his love prevails. Hold fast to your faith. Stand fast in his Word. There is no other hope in this world (my emphasis).

Australian Christian cultural apologist, Bill Muehlenberg, has written this fitting tribute to David Wilkerson, “David Wilkerson RIP”.

Messages from David Wilkerson

1.   A Call to Anguish, by David Wilkerson

23 August 2009

This message is a partially transcribed excerpt from an original message spoken by David Wilkerson.  The full message is titled: “A Call to Anguish.”  and can be downloaded from www.sermonindex.net.”

And I look at the whole religious scene today and all I see are the inventions and ministries of man and flesh.  It’s mostly powerless.  It has no impact on the world.  And I see more of the world coming into the church and impacting the church, rather than the church impacting the world.  I see the music taking over the house of God.  I see entertainment taking over the house of God.  An obsession with entertainment in God’s house.  A hatred of correction and a hatred of reproof.  Nobody wants to hear it any more.  Whatever happened to anguish in the house of God?

Whatever happened to anguish in the ministry? It’s a word you don’t hear in this pampered age.  You don’t hear it.  Anguish means extreme pain and distress.  The emotions so stirred that it becomes painful.  Acute deeply felt inner pain because of conditions about you, in you, or around you.  Anguish.  Deep pain.  Deep sorrow.  The agony of God’s heart.

We’ve held on to our religious rhetoric and our revival talk but we’ve become so passive.  All true passion is born out of anguish.  All true passion for Christ comes out of a baptism of anguish.  You search the scripture and you’ll find that when God determined to recover a ruined situation… He would share His own anguish for what God saw happening to His church and to His people.  And He would find a praying man and take that man and literally baptize him in anguish.  You find it in the book of Nehemiah.  Jerusalem is in ruins.  How is God going to deal with this?  How is God going to restore the ruin?  Now folks, look at me… Nehemiah was not a preacher, he was a career man.  But this was a praying man.

And God found a man who would not just have a flash of emotion.  Not just some great sudden burst of concern and then let it die.  He said: “No.  I broke down and I wept and I mourned and I fasted.  And then I began to pray night and day.  Why didn’t these other men… why didn’t they have an answer?  Why didn’t God use them in restoration?  Why didn’t they have a word?  Because there was no sign of anguish.  No weeping.  Not a word of prayer.  It’s all ruin.

Does it matter to you today? Does it matter to you at all that God’s spiritual Jerusalem, the church, is now married to the world?  That there is such a coldness sweeping the land?  Closer than that… does it matter about the Jerusalem that is in our own hearts?  The sign of ruin that’s slowly draining spiritual power and passion.  Blind to lukewarmness, blind to the mixture that’s creeping in.  That’s all the devil wants to do is to get the fight out of you and kill it.  So you won’t labor in prayers anymore, you won’t weep before God anymore.  You can sit and watch television and your family go to hell.

Let me ask  you… is what I just said convicting to you at all?  There is a great difference between anguish and concern. Concern is something that begins to interest you.  You take an interest in a project or a cause or a concern or a need.  And I want to tell you something.  I’ve learned over all my years… of 50 years of preaching.  If it is not born in anguish, if it had not been born of the Holy Spirit.  Where what you saw and heard of the ruin that drove you to your knees, took you down into a baptism of anguish where you began to pray and seek God.  I know now.  Oh my God do I know it.  Until I am in agony.  Until I have been anguished over it…  And all our projects, all our ministries, everything we do… Where are the Sunday school teachers that weep over kids they know are not hearing and are going to hell?

You see, a true prayer life begins at the place of anguish. You see, if you set your heart to pray, God’s going to come and start sharing His heart with you.  Your heart begins to cry out:  “Oh God, Your name is being blasphemed.  The Holy Spirit is being mocked.  The enemy is out trying to destroy the testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness and something has to be done.”

There is going to be no renewal, no revival, no awakening, until we are willing to let Him once again break us.  Folks, it’s getting late, and it’s getting serious.  Please don’t tell me… don’t tell me you’re  concerned when you’re spending  ours in front of internet or television.  Come on.  Lord, there are some that need to get to this alter and confess: “I am not what I was, I am not where I am supposed to be.  God I don’t have Your heart or Your burden.  I wanted it easy.  I just wanted to be happy.  But Lord, true joy comes out of anguish.”  There’s nothing of the flesh that will give you joy.  I don’t care how much money, I don’t care what kind of new house, there is absolutely nothing physical that can give you joy.  It’s only what is accomplished by the Holy Spirit when you obey and take on His heart.

Build the walls around your family. Build the walls around your own heart.  It will make you strong and impregnable against the enemy.  God, that’s what we desire.

This kind of statement gets near the heart of the passion of our late brother in Christ, David. May God so move upon us that His Holy Spirit so ignites our passion for the lost and unlovely that we will move in a ministry of compassion, but with the boldness of a Christ-infused passion.

2.   An Urgent Message

Saturday, March 7, 2009

AN URGENT MESSAGE

I am compelled by the Holy Spirit to send out an urgent message to all on our mailing list, and to friends and to bishops we have met all over the world.

AN EARTH-SHATTERING CALAMITY IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN. IT IS GOING TO BE SO FRIGHTENING, WE ARE ALL GOING TO TREMBLE – EVEN THE GODLIEST AMONG US.

For ten years I have been warning about a thousand fires coming to New York City. It will engulf the whole megaplex, including areas of New Jersey and Connecticut. Major cities all across America will experience riots and blazing fires—such as we saw in Watts, Los Angeles, years ago.

There will be riots and fires in cities worldwide. There will be looting—including Times Square, New York City. What we are experiencing now is not a recession, not even a depression. We are under God’s wrath. In Psalm 11 it is written,

“If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (v. 3).

God is judging the raging sins of America and the nations. He is destroying the secular foundations.

The prophet Jeremiah pleaded with wicked Israel, “God is fashioning a calamity against you and devising a plan against you. Oh, turn back each of you from your evil way, and reform your ways and deeds. But they will say, It’s hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart” (Jeremiah 18:11-12).

In Psalm 11:6, David warns, “Upon the wicked he will rain snares (coals of fire)…fire…burning wind…will be the portion of their cup.” Why? David answered, “Because the Lord is righteous” (v. 7). This is a righteous judgment—just as in the judgments of Sodom and in Noah’s generation.
WHAT SHALL THE RIGHTEOUS DO? WHAT ABOUT GOD’S PEOPLE?

First, I give you a practical word I received for my own direction. If possible lay in store a thirty-day supply of non-perishable food, toiletries and other essentials. In major cities, grocery stores are emptied in an hour at the sign of an impending disaster.

As for our spiritual reaction, we have but two options. This is outlined in Psalm 11. We “flee like a bird to a mountain.” Or, as David says, “He fixed his eyes on the Lord on his throne in heaven—his eyes beholding, his eyelids testing the sons of men” (v. 4). “In the Lord I take refuge” (v. 1).

I will say to my soul: No need to run…no need to hide. This is God’s righteous work. I will behold our Lord on his throne, with his eye of tender, loving kindness watching over every step I take—trusting that he will deliver his people even through floods, fires, calamities, tests, trials of all kinds.

Note: I do not know when these things will come to pass, but I know it is not far off. I have unburdened my soul to you. Do with the message as you choose.

God bless and keep you,

In Christ,

DAVID WILKERSON

The amazing thing about David Wilkerson and the people he inspired (I am one of them) was that he loved the unlovely and ministered at street level with them.

In the 1970s, I was on the streets of downtown Brisbane, running a coffee shop with some other workers, and ministering to the junkies and prostitutes. Why? David alerted me to the need and God moved upon my heart.

That’s an amazing statement he made on his blog, “David Wilkerson Today”, on the very day he entered the presence of the Lord.

Yes, like me, he was a frail man with failings. I wish he had not made that false prophesy about New York City in 2009. But have a guess what? Even with God’s Word before me in written form, I can make errors of interpretation as a fallible human being. The redeemed on this earth are not perfect. That time is still ahead of us in our elevation to glory.

Overall, I judge David Wilkerson to be a humble man of God with a vision that took effect in the lives of those who needed the Saviour.

3.  Message to the USA after September 11 attack

After the September 11, 2001 attack on New York City, David Wilkerson wrote, “The towers have fallen but we missed the message.

Part of that message reads:

Here Is the Message I Believe God Is Trumpeting in Our Calamities.

Deep in my spirit, I hear the Lord saying, “I’ve prospered you above all nations. Yet, for years you’ve persisted in worshipping idols of gold and silver. I’ve endured your shameless sensuality, your mockery of holy things, your shedding of innocent blood, your tireless efforts to remove me from your society. Now time is running out for you.

“I’ve sent you prophet after prophet, watchman after watchman. You’ve been warned again and again. Yet still you won’t open your eyes to your wicked ways. Now I’ve stricken you, in hopes of saving you. I want to heal your land, to destroy your enemies, to bring you back into my blessing. But you don’t have eyes to see it.”

If God wouldn’t spare other nations that have outlawed him, why would he spare America? He’ll judge us even as he judged Sodom, Rome, Greece and every other culture that has turned its back on him.

On “David Wilkerson Today”, David’s son, Gary Wilkerson, has written this tribute to his Dad:

Friday, April 29, 2011

by Gary Wilkerson

“David served the purposes of God in his generation, then he died” (Acts 13:36).
On Wednesday afternoon my father, David Wilkerson, passed away in a car accident. We grieve the loss of a beloved father, a faithful husband and a holy man of God. My mother, Gwen, his wife of 57 years, was in the car also, but we are told she will recover fully.

Dad’s 60-plus years of ministry have impacted the lives of those closest to him and extended to millions around the world. Today we feel a personal loss, but at the same time we rejoice knowing Dad lived life to the fullest, obeying God with devotion and loving Jesus radically.
He was known for his unlimited faith. He believed God could change the lives of gang members and transform the most desperate drug addicts. He believed that a dynamic church could be launched in the heart of Times Square, New York City. He believed he could be a man who loved his wife and children well. And he did.

Dad was not one for fanfare, acclaim or ceremony. He turned down invitations to meet with world leaders yet would give everything he owned to support a poor orphan or a widow in distress.

Like King David of old, Dad served God’s purposes in his generation. He preached with uncompromising passion and relentless grace. He wrote with amazing insight, clarity and conviction. He ran his race well and when his work was done, he was called home.

I don’t think my father would have retired well. I don’t think he was one to sit in a rocking chair and reminisce about times past. I believe that Jesus, knowing this, graciously called him home.

Dad’s last mission on earth was to be an advocate for the poorest of the poor—to provide relief and support for hungry children and widows and orphans. After founding Teen Challenge, World Challenge and Times Square Church, he sought to feed starving children in the most impoverished countries in the world. Today, Please Pass the Bread is saving the lives of thousands of children, through 56 outreaches in 8 countries.

Like King David of old, after having served God’s purpose, he died. I know if my father were able to encourage you with his words today, he would invite you to give your all to Jesus, to love God deeply and to give yourself away to the needs of others.

The works he began outlive him. We can all attest to his impacting us—not only in his preaching, writing and founding of world-changing ministries, but in his love, devotion, compassion and ability to stir our faith for greater works.

David Wilkerson, you have run the race with exceptional faithfulness to your Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. You are now blessed to be in His presence. To those who mourn, there is this message of hope: “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15 ESV). Life and death depend on the sovereignty of God. There is no sudden, accidental death with God. “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16).

For David’s wife, Gwen, and the family, they have this assurance from Jesus: “”Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).

(David Wilkerson photo, courtesy, ‘David Wilkerson Today

 Notes

[1] Since uploading this article in 2013, my friend, the godly Aeron Morgan, has entered his rest in Paradise & the citation is no longer available online at his homepage.

 

Copyright © 2013 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 30 July 2016.

 

 

Flower21Flower21Flower21Flower21Flower21Flower21

Some of the effects of alcohol use – a Christian response

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

By Spencer D Gear

To discuss alcohol or no-alcohol use with evangelical Christians is like opening up the topic of speaking in tongues, eternal security or millennial views. If you don’t believe me, please take a read of some of the discussion on the blog, Christian Fellowship Forum, “Request” (posts 18-72; I’m ozspen).

This is part of what the Australian government, Department of Health and Ageing, says about alcohol:

Due to the different ways that alcohol can affect people, there is no amount of alcohol that can be said to be safe for everyone. People choosing to drink must realise that there will always be some risk to their health and social well-being.

What about drinking alcohol during pregnancy? This research, “Alcohol in pregnancy: What questions should we be asking?” stated:

If you are planning a pregnancy, are pregnant or are breastfeeding, it is safest if you do not drink alcohol at all. Drinking alcohol may cause harm to your baby. At high levels it can also harm your health. There is no evidence for a safe level of drinking in pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Either stopping or dinking less alcohol at any time during your pregnancy will reduce the risk of harm to your baby.

Benefits of stopping drinking include reduced risk of:

  • alcohol crossing the placenta into your baby’s bloodstream;
  • miscarriage, bleeding, premature birth and stillbirth;
  • Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). This can lead to learning difficulties, poor coordination, slow physical and mental development and defects of the face, heart and bones….

Breastfeeding: If you drink, breast milk will contain alcohol. This can:

  • affect the development of your baby’s brain;
  • affect your baby’s ability to feed;
  • reduce the milk supply available to your baby (p. 65).

Other Christians who join me in opposing the use of alcohol are:

To drink or not to drink? We have taken a sober look at the question. What is the answer? Just say No! Why? Because drinking alcoholic beverages is unbiblical, deadly, addictive, unhealthy, costly, a bad example, not edifying, and unnecessary. Clearly, total abstinence is the safest policy.

Why then is our society in general—and evangelical Christianity in particular—on such a self-destructive alcoholic course. Hosea gave part of the answer: ?My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge? (Hos 4:6). The rest of the answer lies is in resisting temptation. The Bible declares that no temptation (including drugs) is too strong to resist: ?No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but will with the temptation also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it? (1 Cor 10: 13). Mark Twain once said of the temptation to gamble that the best toss of the dice is to toss them away.

Likewise, the best use of the beer can is to toss it into the reprocessing bin—after the contents have been poured down the drain!

Land and Duke conclude their study with these recommendations:

In conclusion, we offer five general principles that the Christian would do well to follow when he is making a decision about alcohol use or any other activity. First, the lordship of Christ takes priority. Christians are not free to do anything they please. They belong to Christ and should make every effort to engage in behavior that honors his lordship over their lives. Paul provides the definitive expression of this principle: ?For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body (1 Cor 6:20). Second, selfishness should be shunned. Selfishness is the root of all sin. It leads people to seek their own interests, even to the detriment of others. The biblical guidance is clear: ?Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor (1 Cor 10:24). Third, sacrifice is a Christian virtue. The needs of others must overrule our own exercise of freedom. Paul taught, “But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak” (1 Cor 8:9). Someone might say that the weaker person is the one with the problem and that stronger Christians should not allow weaker ones to impose standards on them that God has not required. Paul does not qualify his statement, however. In fact, he exaggerates this principle of sacrifice for the weaker Christian, declaring, “Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble” (1 Cor 8:13). Jesus provides the supreme example of such a sacrificial mentality. He recognized the human need for forgiveness and willingly gave up his rightful place in heaven, took on human flesh, and sacrificed his life on the cross for the sake of others. We are not saying that it is not the right of Christians to drink alcohol if they choose to do so. We are saying that Christians should not consider that their rights are more important than their responsibilities to live in such a way that their fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord are not offended.

We recognize that this is not always practicable. Christian legalism, for example, may become so demanding that it creates an unrealistic intrusion into the lives of other Christians. When this occurs, Christians should not feel bound to accommodate these expectations. For some, the issue of alcohol use is such an intrusion, but we ask how the Christian is harmed or his spiritual liberty is hindered if he abstains from drinking alcohol for the sake of his fellow believers? Alcohol consumption is not the same as some other activities legalistic Christians might expect others to give up. Alcohol is a dangerous drug which has and continues to devastate millions of people. When one refrains from drinking alcohol, he is avoiding an activity that is not only offensive to some, but that is deadly to many. This seems to us to be an appropriate application of the principle of sacrifice.

Fourth, God‘s glory should be the most important concern for Christians. With every activity, the Christian should ask whether or not God will be glorified. Paul summarized, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31). We ask any Christian who chooses to drink alcohol whether God is glorified more by the one who drinks or by the one who abstains. Considering the principles we have already laid out, it seems obvious to us that God is glorified most by the Christian who abstains. There is no glory for God in the willful pursuit of pleasure that has no regard for one‘s influence or effect on others.

Finally, the Christian must remember that he will be judged for his every deed, both those that affect his own life and those that affect the lives of others. Paul counsels, “But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged” (1 Cor 11:31). Whether in this life or the life to come, God will hold Christians accountable for their behavior. It does not even matter whether or not we believe we are justified to engage in certain activities. The real question is whether or not God thinks we are. Given the current problems alcohol is causing in our culture, the potential that our drinking has in influencing others to drink, and the many health problems associated with alcohol, it is inconceivable that God considers recreational or social drinking to be the best choice a committed Christian can make. Every Christian should live to hear his Lord declare, “Well done, good and faithful servant “, throughout each day of his life and ultimately on that final day of judgment which awaits us all.

We have supported these five principles with passages from one book of the Bible, Paul‘s first letter to the Christians at Corinth. It should not come as a surprise that so many principles for spiritual decision making would be found in this letter. The church at Corinth was evidently one of the most carnal and immature fellowships of Christians with whom Paul had to deal. This is unfortunate, but not unexpected. The culture in
Corinth was one of the most debased in the Roman Empire. It was so bad that the term “Corinthianized” became the word of choice throughout much of the Roman Empire to describe someone who had fallen into the darkest depths of immoral behavior. Unfortunately, some of the Christians who came out of that cultural morass brought their liberated mindset into the church in Corinth. Paul‘s extant letters to that church reveal the extent of the problem their attitudes were causing. Paul found it necessary to counsel the Christians who had escaped the immorality of their debauched culture to ?be imitators? of him (1 Cor. 4:16). He also shared many principles for faithful living with them. American Christians find themselves currently in the midst of an increasingly secular and immoral culture—a culture devastated by alcohol abuse. Today‘s Christians run the same risks that they too will become influenced by a mindset too fixed on personal pleasure and liberty. We would do well to follow Paul‘s counsel as well and apply the principles he shared with our Christian counterparts nearly 2,000 years ago.

Kenneth Gentry supports the “moderation” view in, “The Bible and the question of alcoholic beverages”. His conclusion is:

The thrust of my study is intentionally narrow. My concern is to present the biblical data regarding the general question of the morality of alcohol consumption. Though other issues might tangentially bear upon the topic, the ultimate issue in the debate should be, ?What saith the Lord?? Or to put it in contemporary parlance, we might ask, “What would Jesus do?” And we have seen that he would make wine and drink it (John 2:1–11; Matt 11:19; Luke 7:34).

In the final analysis it is quite clear that Scripture neither urges universal total abstinence nor demands absolute life-long prohibition.

Although alcoholic beverages can be, have been, and are presently abused by individuals, such need not be the case. Indeed, the biblical record frequently and clearly speaks of alcoholic beverages as good gifts from God for man’s enjoyment. Unfortunately, as is always the case among sinners, good things are often transformed into curses. This is true not only with alcohol but with food, medicine, sex, wealth, authority, and many other areas of life. In fact, gluttonous eating of food is paralleled with immoderate drinking of wine in Scripture (Deut 21:20; Prov 23:20–21; Matt 11:19; Luke 7:34), just as is the perverted use of sex (Rom 13:13; Gal 5:21; 1 Pet 4:3).

The reader should not conclude that I intend for this study to encourage drinking by those who do not presently do so. I do not. I have never and will never encourage others to drink. Whether or not an individual wants to drink is a matter of his own tastes and discretion (within biblical limits, of course).

Neither should the reader think that this study presents all that can be said on the biblical understanding of the question of alcohol use. Again, such is not the case. Space constraints prohibit an in-depth analysis of all the data of Scripture. Nevertheless, I believe that the issues presented herein capture the essence of the biblical position.

The only point I make herein is that the biblical evidence shows that God allows alcohol consumption in moderation. Too often the Bible takes the back seat to emotional, anecdotal, and social arguments against alcohol consumption. This is most unfortunate — especially when considering the matter in ecclesiastical circles for Christians must “let God be found true” (Rom 3:4).

Link between alcohol use and cancer

There is a report in The Independent (UK) newspaper, 8 April 2011, about the link between alcohol use and cancer, “Report reveals alcohol cancer link”. Part of the report reads:

One in 10 cancers in men and one in 33 in women across Western Europe are caused by drinking, according to new research.

While even small amounts increases the risk, drinking above recommended limits causes the majority of cancer cases linked to alcohol, experts said.

And even former drinkers who have now quit are still at risk of cancer, including of the oesophagus, breast, mouth and bowel.

NHS guidelines are that men should drink no more than three to four units a day while women should not go over two to three units a day.

But the new research, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), found cancer risks at even lower levels.

Experts analysed data from eight European countries, including the UK, and worked out what proportion of men and women were drinking above guidelines of 24g of alcohol a day for men and 12g a day for women.

In the UK, one unit is defined as 8g of alcohol, meaning 12g is roughly a small 125ml glass of white wine (1.6 units).

In the British Medical Journal, 7 April 2011, “Alcohol attributable burden of incidence of cancer in eight European countries based on results from prospective cohort study “, these were the results and conclusions of this research:

Results If we assume causality, among men and women, 10% (95% confidence interval 7 to 13%) and 3% (1 to 5%) of the incidence of total cancer was attributable to former and current alcohol consumption in the selected European countries. For selected cancers the figures were 44% (31 to 56%) and 25% (5 to 46%) for upper aerodigestive tract, 33% (11 to 54%) and 18% (?3 to 38%) for liver, 17% (10 to 25%) and 4% (?1 to 10%) for colorectal cancer for men and women, respectively, and 5.0% (2 to 8%) for female breast cancer. A substantial part of the alcohol attributable fraction in 2008 was associated with alcohol consumption higher than the recommended upper limit: 33?037 of 178?578 alcohol related cancer cases in men and 17?470 of 397?043 alcohol related cases in women.

Conclusions In western Europe, an important proportion of cases of cancer can be attributable to alcohol consumption, especially consumption higher than the recommended upper limits. These data support current political efforts to reduce or to abstain from alcohol consumption to reduce the incidence of cancer.

An Australian study from 2009, according to ABC News [Australia], “Study bolsters alcohol-cancer link”, stated that:

The National Drug Research Institute has found more than 2,000 Australians die from alcohol-related cancers each year.

The study, conducted by researchers at Curtin University, found 1,200 men and 900 women in Australia died from alcohol-related cancer in the past year, with 200 deaths in WA.

The institute found links between alcohol consumption and cancer to be extensive, and says the numbers could increase as links to other cancers are discovered.

Currently links between alcohol and mouth, throat, oesophagus, liver, breast, colon, rectal and prostate cancers have been established.

Researchers also found a woman who consumes five standard drinks a day is five times more likely to be diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer than a non-drinker.

Tanya Chikritzhs from the National Drug Research Institute says the links between alcohol and cancer are extensive.

“Basically the more you drink, the more you’re at risk,” she said.

“Heavy drinkers, when it comes to let’s say rectal cancer for instance, are many times more likely to be at risk of cancer than a person who is a very light drinker.”

Professor Chikritzhs says she was surprised by the research relating to colon and rectal cancer, as the risk of death for women who drink moderately was considerably greater than men.

“For a man who drinks 2.5 standard drinks a day, the risk is about 10 per cent greater than someone who doesn’t drink. For a woman, it’s over 200 per cent greater,” she said.

The Sydney Morning Herald of 2 May 2011, in the article, “Quit drinking to cut cancer rate”, stated:

CANCER COUNCIL AUSTRALIA has revised dramatically upwards its estimate of alcohol’s contribution to new cancer cases and issued its strongest warning yet that people worried by the link should avoid drinking altogether.

New evidence implicating alcohol in the development of bowel and breast cancer meant drinking probably caused about 5.6 per cent of cancers in Australia, or nearly 6500 of the 115,000 cases expected this year, a review by the council found. This was nearly double the 3.1 per cent figure it nominated in its last assessment, in 2008.

The council’s chief executive, Ian Olver, said the updated calculations revealed breast and bowel cancer accounted for nearly two-thirds of all alcohol-related cancers, overtaking those of the mouth, throat and oesophagus.

”The public really needs to know about it because it’s a modifiable risk factor,” said Professor Olver, calling for awareness campaigns to alert people to the link. ”You might not be able to help your genes but you can make lifestyle choices.”

Professor Olver said public advice should not conflict with the National Health & Medical Research Council’s 2009 recommendation people should drink no more than two standard alcohol units daily, already half the previous safe threshold for men….

”I’m not talking about tobacco-style warnings but at the moment there’s no requirement for any health advice on alcohol packaging, and that’s wrong,” said Professor Daube, from Curtin University.

So what will now be done by governments that have this research? Remember what happened when research found the link between cigarette smoking and cancer? Will the same happen with this research link between alcohol use and cancer? I’m not holding my breath!!!

The above presents some of the evidence on which you can make a decision with your God-given discernment and conscience. For my wife and me, we have chosen to avoid the consumption of alcohol. You can read some of our reasons in: “Alcohol and the Christian“.

 

Copyright © 2011 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 9 October 2015.

The drug menace! What can parents do?

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

Image result for syringe drug use public domain

(public domain)

By Spencer D Gear

Note: the statistics in this article need to be updated, but they should provide an example of the use of illicit drugs in Australia.

Matthew is above-average as a student, not bad looking, liked by his mates, faithfully attends church, comes from a middle-class family. By the time he reaches age 18, what are his chances of experimenting with alcohol or an illicit drug (including marijuana)?

Marijuana is the most common illicit drug in Australia;

One in three people aged 14 and over has tried marijuana;[2]

One survey found that 15% of all Australians used illicit drugs at least once in the previous 12 months;

26% of all teenagers (aged 14-19) used illicit drugs at least once in the previous 12 months;

98% of street kids (under age 19) used illicit drugs at least once in the previous 12 months.[3]

27% of 15-year-old girls smoke nicotine and 21% of 15-year-old boys smoke nicotine (1990 data)[4]

From 1985-1993, the proportion of South Australian 14-19 year olds who said they had ever used marijuana increased 50%. This was after decriminalisation (on-the- spot fines) in SA in 1987. This compared with increases of 4% (Qld), 31% (WA), 39% (Vic), and a decrease of 7% (NSW).[5]

What is happening for the older age groups is of great concern:

50% of people aged 20-29 have used marijuana;[6]

60% of males and 45% of females aged 25-39 have used marijuana.[7]

Variation of % of 20-39 year olds who ever used marijuana, 1985-1993: increase 6% (Vic), 11% (WA), 15% (NSW), 32% (SA) [after decriminalisation (on the spot fines) in SA in 1987], and a decrease of 2% (Qld).[8]

In 1989, as far as “absolute alcohol consumption is concerned, [Australia ranks] 15th in the world and our level of consumption is the highest of all English-speaking nations.

“Alcohol abuse has now become the major drug problem in Australia, with alcohol-related road deaths, hospital admissions and drownings bearing witness to the enormity of the problem.

“Family breakdowns, domestic violence, homicides and money worries go hand-in-hand with excessive drinking, as do depression, sexual impotence, permanent brain damage and poor dietary habits.”[9]

“Drug misuse [is] estimated to cost Australia more than $14 billion a year in road trauma, health care, lost productivity, and law enforcement.”[10] The breakdown is:

Alcohol = $6.027 billion

Tobacco = $6.842 billion

Street Drugs = $1.441 billion.[11]

These people come from every walk of life: rich and poor, liberal and conservative, religious and non-religious, rural, suburban, and inner city.

The legal drugs are devastating our community. Why then the push to make illict drugs (such as marijuana and heroin) more readily available? I think this is crazy thinking.

It’s time to conclude that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH and do something about this plague on the nation.

How to Motivate Others to Get Involved.

In one city,[12] a group of parents joined together to try to curb drug abuse and provide a treatment program for their youth. They called themselves “Parents Against Drugs“. They approached government with this idea that when children are caught with drugs or alcohol at school, the student will be placed in a school where everyone enrolled has the same problem with drug and alcohol abuse.

The students would provide support for each other to stay drug-free. They would have access to treatment alternatives.

Even if these parents do not succeed, they have at least raised the awareness of the need in that city and have the ear of government officials.

In another city, on New Year’s Eve when there are a lot of drink-driving deaths, businesses, parents, P&C’s, and other groups, are pulling together to provide free rides home to those who become drunk.

In Philadelphia (USA), parents became angry at the number of crack (a form of cocaine) dealers who had moved into their area. They formed a group:

to become the best-informed parents in the country about drugs;

police trained the parents to observe behaviour to identify drug pushing and dealing;

that learned how to spot the problem and they took action by calling the police with a complaint about a drug dealer in the street;

that cleaned up suburbs that were infested with crack and its dealers.

which had a practical impact on its community.

If you are frustrated with a lack of action in your community to deal with drugs, stop expecting others to solve the problem. It’s time for parents to stop pointing fingers and start looking for ways that everyone in the community can stop drug abuse. It can start with you.

How can it happen?

PARENT POWER

For parents to pull together to save our children, it must start with someone. One concerned parent can begin something that will make a radical difference for drug-free children.

The most important contributors are parents.

We need a grass-roots effort to change the direction of the drug problem.

Parents can take other steps:

  • insure that existing laws against drug abuse are strictly enforced;
  • make a public fuss if you believe magistrates are not doing the correct thing in sentencing;
  • do something at the level of the education department to make sure our youth are getting accurate information about drugs. Perhaps starting at the P&C meeting. Maybe parents can form prevention groups to go into schools.
  • parents should work to keep drug abuse a criminal offence. Decriminalisation sends a dangerous message to our youth.

Parents could join together to:

  • make sure there is no alcohol or drugs at school functions or parties their children go to;
  • close down functions for children and under-age youth where there is alcohol or drugs;
  • make sure the names of those who supply alcohol and drugs to the under-aged are given to the police and are prosecuted.

However, we must make sure parents know the dangers of alcohol and other drugs so they understand the reason for the firm stand.

You don’t have to be a psychologist or a counsellor to run a support group for parents or youth. Advertise it and when the first person comes, you have the start of a support group to begin the movement to drug-proof your children. However, plan your approach carefully. There is no excuse for a shoddy program.

PEER POWER

Before motivating parents to join together, you could start with youth coming together. Often when youth join together to attack the drug problem, it is easier to get their parents involved.

When youth form a group against drugs and alcohol, it should be based on a pledge that all members of the group are accountable to each other and their parents to remain drug and alcohol free. Often youth join a gang of drug-users because of a lack of alternatives. Why don’t youth join a group that could be called A.A.D.D.–Adolescents Against Drunk Driving? Wouldn’t it be amazing to see such a positive peer group in our schools?

A New York State (USA) survey of 8,000 high school students found how the peer group influenced drug use. The results were:[13]

Close Friends Who Used Drugs Personal Use of Drugs
None 2%
Few 17%
Some 50%
Most 80%
All 90%

The study found that the “number of weekly visits with drug-oriented friends had an impact on drug use.” The message is clear: Our children become like the mates they hang around with.

THE PRO-ACTIVE CHURCH

The war on drugs will be won when the community comes together to help. Churches need to be part of the pro-active movement to deal with drugs. It is not to be left just to church youth workers, Sunday School teachers and pastors–it is the job of the whole church.

  • train the staff;
  • choose leaders for the church’s pro-active stance against drugs;
  • there needs to be teachers in the church for drug education, prevention and treatment;
  • make courses available for parents. They need to know the facts about drugs and prevention strategies;
  • after the parents get knowledge, it’s time to educate the children:
  • children don’t learn best by lectures. Bring in a redeemed drug addict to tell his/her story. Show films giving graphic details about the realities of drug abuse; use drama.
  • educate the children of the church with exposure to accurate drug information.

You could organise parents to provide healthy activities for youth when temptations are there. After sporting events or other social events for youth, why not organise pizza parties at your place?

Join with other churches in presenting a united voice against the drug problems in your city or suburb. The church can set a standard of leadership for the whole community. We desperately need a community-wide drug education and prevention push that challenges the government’s “harm minimisation” line. I believe it is ludicrous trying to teach our youth how to use harmful drugs such as marijuana, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and other illicit drugs to minimise harm. I find this a message of madness.

ONE CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE

Anybody can start the drug prevention movement in your city. There’s no reason why it can’t be you, if you are convinced about the danger of drugs and you want to be part of the solution.

The year 1975 was a bad one for the U.S. State of Alaska. Marijuana use in the privacy of the home was made legal. Drug use and abuse escalated. Lynda Adams was deeply concerned. She formed a local parent group that eventually became a state-wide organisation, Alaskans for Drug-Free Youth. A 1990 public referendum in Alaska made marijuana use a criminal offence again. She says, “I encourage people not to give up because dedication and perseverance can make a difference.”

You can mobilise the media, the schools, police, and parents to stop the drug problem in your area. The drug war can’t be won alone. The hearts and minds of this generation of young people are at stake.

ONE PERSON WITH COMPASSION, COMMITMENT AND LOVE FOR OTHERS, CAN MOTIVATE A CITY TO BEGIN THE FIGHT.

Molly Frye was a mother of three teenagers:

“A few years ago, she got fed up with what her kids were being taught about sex and drug abuse in the school system, and she decided to do something about it.

“Without a day’s experience in formal youth work, Molly wrote a curriculum about crisis pregnancy and drug and alcohol abuse. As a guest instructor, she presented her curriculum in a health class. It was so well received that [in one] year she and a modest band of volunteers spoke to more than 16,000 students in [her] community. One person can make a difference.[14]

The Family and Drug Abuse

One of the best predictors of a youth’s drinking habits is the attitude of the parents towards alcohol. “Children of alcoholics have a four-times-greater risk of developing alcoholism than children of non-alcoholics.”

Children are more likely to “abuse drugs if their parents:

  • smoke cigarettes;
  • abuse alcohol or are alcoholics;
  • take illicit drugs;
  • use any substance to help master stress;
  • impart an ambivalent or positive attitude toward illegal drugs.”[15]
  • What happens when children see:
  • Daddy has a so-called harmless few beers or glass of wine after work?
  • Mum feeling lousy and running to the medicine cabinet for a valium?

Then there’s the denial or lack of knowledge by parents of what their children are up to. One U.S. study of 600 grade 12 students and their parents about alcohol use found that “only 35 percent of the adults believed their sons and daughters had consumed beer, wine or liquor within the last month. But according to the kids, the actual figure was nearly double that.”[16]

Notes:

[1] Prepared by Spencer Gear when he was a family counsellor in Hervey Bay, Qld., Australia. He has since retired from that role.

[2]Recent statistics reveal that “marijuana is the most wide-spread drug in use following tobacco and alcohol, with 31 per cent of Australians having tried it and 13 per cent using it in the year before the survey.” This National Drug Strategy household survey involving 3,850 people over a two month period, was conducted by AGB-McNair and was released by the federal Health Minister, Michael Wooldridge (in the Bundaberg News-Mail, July 6, 1996, p. 10.)

[3]Statistics on marijuana and other illicit drugs, based on NCADA National Household Survey 1991.

[4]NSW Cancer Council Study, 1990 data.

[5]Queensland Criminal Justice Commission Report 1994 (CJC). Source: NCADA 1985-93, in Elaine Walters, The Cruel Hoax: Street Drugs in Australia. Shield Pty. Ltd., [PO Box 230, Malvern, Vic. 3144, Phone: 018 036 898], 1996, 35.

[6]The Parliamentary Joint Committee on National Crime Authority, 1989, Table 2, p. 38.

[7]Statistics on drug abuse in Australia, 1992, p. 33.

[8]Queensland Criminal Justice Commission Report 1994 (CJC). Source: NCADA 1985-93, in Elaine Walters, The Cruel Hoax: Street Drugs in Australia. Shield Pty. Ltd., [PO Box 230, Malvern, Vic. 3144, Phone: 018 036 898], 1996, 35.

[9]“A devil too many of us know well,” The Canberra Times, March 3, 1992, p. 21.

[10]“Legal drug abuse more costly than illegal use,” The Canberra Times, April 7, 1993, p. 19.

[11]National Campaign Against Drug Abuse, March 1991.

[12]Albuquerque, New Mexico (USA), in Stephen Arterburn & Jim Burns, Drug-Proof Your Kids. Pomona, California: Focus on the Family Publishing, 1989., p. 162.

[13]What Works: Schools Without Drugs. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, 1987, p. 15, in Arterburn & Burns, p. 27.

[14]In Arterburn & Burns, p. 172.

[15]Donald W. Goodwin, M.D., Is Alcoholism Hereditary? New York: Ballantine Books, Inc., 1988, p. 3, in Arterburn & Burns, pp. 27-28.

[16]Ken Barun and Philip Bashe, How to Keep the Children You Love Off Drugs. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1988, p. 4, in Arterburn & Burns, p. 28.

 
Copyright © 2014 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 29 January 2014.

Flower9Flower9Flower9Flower9Flower9Flower9Flower9
Whytehouse designs