Last night I had the pleasure of attending the DARE Graduation here at St. Paul's in Troy.
Many people don't even know what Troy has a drug problem. I don't think that Troy is unique in this. Most communities don't think they have a drug problem. Perhaps they have a few of the "bad" kids that will get involved in the use of drugs but it isn't really a problem. Oh, maybe there are some of the teens that will be involved in underage drinking, but then again, that has been the problem for generations. We laugh it off as a typical rite of passage among the young. And we don't see a problem at all.
Yes, alcohol is a drug and there is a problem with it. Young are drinking when they shouldn't. Adults are drinking far too much. We make alcohol the focus of our times together. If we can't drink, we don't want to be a part of it. Take a look at your own family or friends gatherings. Do you think you could have those gatherings without everyone drinking? Would the friends come to the Super Bowl party if you served only soft drinks? Why do we think we have to drink to have fun? I am not a teetotaller by any stretch of the imagination. But I do get frustrated when alcohol is the center piece of what we do.
While alcohol might be a problem, a bigger problem is other drugs - especially the drug of the day, heroin. Talking with someone a while back they didn't think that heroin was a problem in Troy. If I would have had false teeth, I would have dropped them. This person is a "worldly" person and didn't think there was a problem in our community. I was amazed. I know that I don't travel in the drug circles (I thank God for that) but I am aware that there are drugs in our community and that there are many people using them. This drug, heroin, is destroying lives and killing our people. It is a terribly addicting drug that steals the joy of the youth, the life of the person, the future and finally the physical life of the user. It is a terrible scourge upon our society.
DARE is a program meant to help our young people to stay drug free. Will it work? Will these kids who graduated stay drug free. I pray that they will. They will need the support of their family. But more than that, they need the support of their church. You and me, people who sit in the pews at St. Paul's, need to encourage and support our families and our young people. We need to encourage them to avoid the traps that Satan sets for them. Drugs are just one of the traps. We need to encourage them not to get sucked into the use of illegal drugs as well as legal drugs (like cigarettes and alcohol). We need to support our families, helping them to stand firm in the face of the pressures of today to "enjoy" life through the use of drugs.
I am proud of our young men and women who graduated last night. I pray for them. And I ask God to help them, guide them and lead them in the paths of righteousness all the days of their lives.