The Addiction Crisis Among the Younger Generation

The moment you hear it you are stunned. The news of your well rounded, smart, career-minded child has just gone through their entire savings spent on hard drugs. How can this be?  This was the last thing you could have ever thought would happen with your child.  But it just did. 

Each week we hear of more staggering news of families with teens and young adults faced with a drug crisis. Today’s drug choice – cocaine, alcohol, club drugs, fentanyl, heroin, inhalants, opioids, and more. I’ve seen it up close and too personal.

I’m not the last parent who has had a child struggle with drugs. Such as the case of one family who has a daughter caught up in this addiction. They have tried everything under the sun. With all of their money spent to help her, they now have the responsibility of raising their grandchild because of their daughter’s decisions to make drugs her number one priority.  

She is not the only one.  Thousands upon thousands of other parents are battling this same dilemma.  A cycle that has pulled their children in so far that it has nearly pulled the parents under as well.  

Moms and Dads who only wanted the best for their children are finding themselves stressed, financially burdened, depressed, and left hopeless.  The love they have for their child is nearly killing them.  Some parents have literally admitted themselves to the hospital due to feeling so overcome by their child’s addictions. My husband suffered two strokes from stress due to one of our broken children.  Other parents are so far in debt, they have nearly lost their home and their careers.  

Every penny now goes into rehabs, getting their child out of jail, hospital bills from overdoses, replenishing what was stolen for drugs, and more.  Thousands of dollars spent on a repeated pattern of addiction that parents are not able to handle.  

How in the world can a parent fight this?  Do they let their child continue to make dangerous and risky choices that could kill them?  Do they enable their child with money hoping that their son or daughter finally overcomes their addiction through a program?  Do they make so-called “deals” to bribe them into getting better and kicking the habit?  These are the heavy questions that parents face every day.  

Along the way of promoting my book, I met a tremendous amount of parents who are caring for their grandchildren because their young adult child is a drug addict that encouraged a risky lifestyle of promiscuity, gambling, selling of drugs, etc…  The theme is the same. Parents feel like failures,  wondering where they went wrong to have a son or daughter as an addict.  

If you think about it, how many peers have you come across in which they openly said, “Hi, my name is…… and I’m the mother of an addict.”  Very rare I would say. The only circumstances you would find this admission are in a NA or AA meeting support groups. 

Most troublesome are the medicines to help addicts kick the habit.  They are also another addictive drug.  Some programs encourage so much use of the so-called “cure”  that once the addict is free from their addiction, their core issues still exist, and back to drugs they go. 

Another correlation with addiction is mental illness. One who is a drug addict self medicates to curb their mental illness symptoms.  The NBR study (https://dualdiagnosis.org/mental-health-and-addiction/the-connection/)  links drugs and mental illness with some surprising results.  These statistics alone tell of the consumption of drugs just to survive mental illness.  

  • 69 percent of alcohol
  • 84 percent of cocaine
  • 68 percent of cigarettes

The study is eye-opening as it reveals some of the reasons why our children stay addicted. This is helpful in understanding why our children who do have a mental illness, struggle to get free from addiction.  It is not always the case in which they just love to get high.  Many just want to feel normal like other people and forget that they have a mental illness or disorder.  

As Christians, we have a hard time fathoming the idea of a child who knows God, to abuse drugs.  Guess what? It doesn’t matter if your child knows who God is, their addiction is often too consuming to break away from. 

SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) understands this which is why they recognize the importance of supporting addiction treatment options like the 800 faith-based community programs that receive grants to help people of faith to beat addiction.  

This post however is not to give depressing news and no answers.  NO!  In fact, the only true answer, where other answers failed, is Jesus Christ! He provides more than just an answer.  He provides hope, strength, life, and future.  When you put your hope in God, you don’t have to worry about what will happen in the future. As His child, God has promised to care for you (Isaiah 46:4)and to never leave you or forget you (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Your Heavenly Father knows the disappointment that you feel.  He knows the anguish and despair you deal with every day and night, wondering if your child will be on the streets, have an overdose or lose their life.  God KNOWS ALL!  Remember, He created your child.  He loves them more than you do because He intricately made them. He is BIGGER than addiction.  He is BIGGER than mental illness.  He is GOD!  

Enrich yourselves in His Word that brings the peace that passes all understanding.  Dive into prayer that sustains you and gives you strength.  Learn to love yourself and take care of yourself.  You cannot be a help and supporter later on when you are needed if you are not in a good mental or physical state.  Be kind to yourself by remembering that God does not see you as a bad parent but a hurting parent who is trying their best to overcome this crisis.  

Get involved with a support group such as the SAMHSA. It is always good to have a support line to get you through the toughest of challenges as well as meet other families struggling with the same issues. https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline  

The one thing you have as a Christian parent than someone in the world is HOPE because you have Christ, your Deliverer for your family.  Know this, greater is He that is in you than the one who is the world. (paraphrased)  I John 4:4

Photo by Mikail Duran on Unsplash

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