Nearly everywhere we look, the consequences of drug abuse can be seen. Drugs have changed the social landscape of America. Drug abuse can cause addiction, lead to gangs, violence, crime, organ failure, mental illness, and death. A study on the use of illicit drugs in America shows that drug use among teens is rising.
According to the National Institute of Health the most widely abused drug behind alcohol is marijuana, with pain relievers coming in 3rd and cocaine 4th and heroin 5th. An even more disturbing trend is the rise of prescription drug abuse. The statistics are staggering:
- More teens die from prescription drugs than heroin/cocaine combined.
- More than 60% of teens said that drugs were sold, used, or kept at their school.
- Teens who drink alcohol are 50 times more likely to use cocaine than teens who never drink.
- 64% of teens surveyed who have abused pain relievers say they got them from friends or relatives.
- By the 8th grade, 29.5% of adolescents have consumed alcohol, 15.5% have smoked cigarettes, and 15% have used marijuana.
- Teens whose parents talk to them regularly about the dangers of drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs than those whose parents don’t. However, only a quarter of teens report having these conversations.
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications are some of the most commonly abused drugs by high school seniors.
Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse
Substance abuse is a medical, psychological and spiritual problem. Christians must be armed with the facts to combat this scourge in our communities. Ilcian Lemus, a pastor at Revolucion Juvenil in El Camino Metro recently graduated from our 90 Degrees Certification program. She shared that her youth battle with gangs, drugs and vandalism. UYWI equipped her with the tools that she needed to more effectively engage and disciple her youth. Ilcian shares: “90 Degrees has been so valuable and life changing. It wasn’t just theory, but it was practical – which is what I really enjoyed! I have learned so much not only about youth ministry but about myself.”
UYWI is committed to equipping urban youth leaders with the tools and resources that they need to minister the love of Jesus Christ to the least, the last and the lost. Thank you for your prayers, support and generous investment in training and mentoring urban youth leaders who reach and disciple at- risk youth.