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Inside Washington

What happens in the halls of national government – for better or for worse – can dictate the future course of America. Along with your fellow Prayer Team members, you are to be constantly and fervently interceding for all the men and women who serve in Congress, for your military leaders in the Pentagon, and for the President of the United States, his cabinet and administration.

“Inside Washington” will equip you to do just that … with reports on the nation’s leaders and the decisions they’re considering … or have already made. We’ll examine the implications for the nation, and call you to specific prayer for those needs.

Fighting Opioid Addiction

Inside Washington

New legislation intended to slow nationwide epidemic

By Candy Arrington

In an effort to help communities develop treatment and overdose prevention programs for those with heroin and prescription opioid pain reliever addictions, Congress recently passed a bill which President Obama is expected to sign. Opioid addictions have reached epidemic proportions, 2.2 million nationwide according to the U.S. Centers for Human and Health Services. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control reported deaths associated with heroin and prescription opioid pain reliever overdoses exceeded car accident deaths.

The passage of this legislation resulted from a rare bipartisan effort, and, although it authorizes $181 million a year for programs, some decry it as only a tiny bandage on a gushing wound with funding insufficient to make a difference.

Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, a leading proponent of the bill, said this legislation is, "the first time that we've treated addiction like the disease that it is, which will help put an end to the stigma that has surrounded addiction for too long."

The Trap of Addiction

"Drug addict" conjures images of dealers in dark alleys peddling their wares to an unsavory group of clients, but the majority of those in America with opioid addictions receive their drugs, at least initially, via prescription. Some become addicted to heroin when they can no longer get prescription pain relievers. The question that begs to be answered: Are doctors over-prescribing pain relieving drugs?

Underlying Problems

Sin and Strongholds

It is inherent in human nature, because of sin, to desire, demand, and acquire whatever one wants  without regard to future consequences. Increasingly, our culture is a me-first society with little emphasis given to self-control and self-discipline. Since the Garden of Eden, Satan has enticed with the you-deserve-it mentality, and that, combined with the bent toward escaping rather than confronting difficult life issues makes many prime candidates for addiction.

Addiction is sometimes a gradual process, but in the case of opioid pain relievers and heroin, an addiction can form rapidly. Like sin, drug addiction seeps into one's life, spreading, consuming, deceiving. And all along, the addict believes he can stop any time he chooses.

The definition of "stronghold" is a fortified place, a place of security or survival, but in the case of addiction, drugs take a strong hold on a person's life and are anything but a source of protection. Satan can use anything—substance abuse, obsessions, work—as a stronghold, and anything that holds focus elsewhere causes separation from God. Those with drug addictions are fighting a spiritual battle as well as a physical one.

"For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds." (2 Corinthians 10:3-4)

Never Give Up the Fight

A quick online search yields hundreds of posts from parents of teens or adult children with heroin or other opioid addictions. Their stories detail years of struggle, financial depletion, heartache, and sorrow. Addiction tears families apart. It impacts the lives of each member of the family, not just the addict, and keeps a plethora of emotions constantly swirling, hopelessness being chief among them.

While the funding created by this bill may seem insignificant to fight the rampant epidemic of opioid addiction, it is an advance in a battle that must not be allowed to go unchecked. Perhaps one way to slow the tidal wave of addiction in America is to increase drug education both in schools and at home so children learn the rapid nature of opioid addiction and begin to view drugs as a literal death trap.

Pray for:

Candy Arrington has written hundreds of articles on tough topics for a wide variety of publications and enjoys teaching and speaking on these topics.

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