ALCOHOLISM

The use of drugs is an ever-present problem in our society. One of the most prevalent drugs is alcohol. The Bible presents to us the condition of man as he uses it: "Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine. Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the. cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind imagine confusing things. You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. 'They hit me," you will say, "but I 'm not hurt! They beat me, but I don't feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?" (Prov. 23).

What an excellent description of the plight of an alcoholic this is. One of the blights of mankind is alcohol. After the flood old Noah imbibed of strong drink and, when one of his sons mocked him, brought a curse upon the son. Alcohol is a curse to mankind. It has become a blight upon America. Many people do use it in moderation, but many do not. In America there are at least 15 million alcoholics. They cost the nation and their families and employers billions of dollars each year.

What I started out to do was to present to you the problems that exist upon American Junior High and High School Campuses. Over half the nation's seventh through twelfth graders 10.6 million of our 20.7 million students, drink. Eight million of these students drink weekly. Over 5.4 million of them have had 5 or more drinks in a row at lest once and half a million binge once a week.

Of the kids who drink, 3.3 million drink alone, 4.4 million drink when upset; 2.7 million drink when bored. A great risk factor for becoming an alcoholic is to be the son, daughter or sibling of one. Some researchers say children of alcoholics have four times the risk of alcoholism than children of non-alcoholics do.

Before a child turns 18 he will have seen about 75,000 drinking scenes on TV programs. Alcohol-related traffic accidents will kill 2,800 kids in the age range 15-19 this year. Most of the above statistics are from NEA TODAY. Alcohol is really the biggest drug problem we have on high school campuses. It is far ahead of other drugs.

Many children today turn to alcohol because it is easy to obtain. False IDs can be purchased for 5 to 10 dollars. Many do not need to resort even to this as they have access to it in their homes. When they leave high school they are already on the road to becoming alcoholics. "

I have learned just recently that new research suggests that a particular version of a gene that controls the manufacture of a receptor protein for the neurotransmitter dopamine can play an important part in the development of severe alcoholism. However, even though this is true there is still considerable disagreement about how alcoholism develops. Genes may only be one of many factors in its development. The point is that one easy way not to become an alcoholic is not to start drinking. Many a person wishes he had not.

There is hope. We have had some alcoholics, here at Sterling and they have been helped. One thing is certain, they must be accepted and encouraged to overcome their habit. They need to believe in the Lord and experience the new birth through their faith and baptism. They need prayers and support. They need every measure to help them overcome the drinking habit and they need help in realizing that they will always be an alcoholic. It is a question of whether they will be a "dry" one or a "wet" one. We want to help them became a dry one.

I am happy to report that some recent studies have shown recovering alcoholics have fewer relapses when they take opioid antagonist naltrexone (Trexan, DuPont Merck). The drug seems to work by reducing the pleasurable effects of alcohol. Researchers feel it will only work in conjunction with psychotherapy. Longer studies are being conducted to confirm the drug's value in this use.

But, once again I would like to affirm the point that if one does not start the use of alcohol, then one does not need to worry about the abuse of it.

And, if one has succumbed to it and is an alcoholic, then turning to the Lord is going to help in overcoming the problem. - Art Atkinson.