Posted: July 31, 2007 in Lessons
Big Al, with a couple of pretty little cowgirls at VBS yesterday
Today is Day 4 of VBS. Tomorrow is what I affectionately call The Grand Tamale.Last night was my latest training session on the road to becoming sworn in as a CASA volunteer. I sat in a bad chair for three straight hours (no breaks), most of which was spent listening to two gentlemen from the district attorney’s office educate us on substance abuse. It was, at once, both fascinating and disheartening.

In case you haven’t heard, the war on drugs has not gone well. At all. It seems people have pretty much got it backwards; instead of saying “no,” there has been a resounding YES to drugs in our communities. Our instructors last evening, along with the youth court judge, estimated that nearly 90% of all court cases in Jackson County are drug-related. For example, the charge might be burglary, but when you explore the “why” behind the burglary, nine times out of ten it is because of drugs.

In between establishing the enormity of the problem and the primer on what we as CASA volunteers should look for (with a particular focus on spotting a meth lab on our home visits), there was an important question raised: Why? Why do so many people turn to drugs? Research pinpoints two main reasons: (1) mental illness (with much fewer instances, and interestingly, these cases aren’t so much as to get “high” but to feel normal), and (2) to cope with life (a means to escape).

I thought about the overwhelming reason people use drugs – to escape the misery of their life – and I came to an interesting conclusion: the future of the war on drugs doesn’t look so hot. I say this because the war on drugs doesn’t address the root problem. Our local law enforcement personnel do a terrific job of arresting and prosecuting perpetrators, and our legislators continue to modify the laws to help in the arresting and prosecuting. But who is dealing with the root problem of human misery?

I’m afraid that drug enforcement officers have one good thing going for them, and that is job security.

Our government can (and should) declare war on those who exploit others, and it can bust perpetrators. But laws cannot give people a real reason to live.

I become more and more convinced each day that Jesus really did offer up the meaning of life when he taught indiscriminate love. I long for a day when those who claim to follow him (a) grasp that this IS the good news, and (b) make it central to who we are and what we do.

Until we go beyond “Say No” and offer people something to say YES to, we’re in for a depressing ride.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s