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Is Jesus Enough for Drug Addicts?

Every morning in Niddrie, Scotland, without fail, we will see a steady stream of pale, (many) toothless, shuffling, hopeless humanity trudging, zombie-like, to their local chemist to pick up their “script.” It is a depressing sight to see.

Once inside, some of them will have to drink their potion under the watchful eye of the chemist (as per legal instructions) or they will wander off back to their “homes,” white paper bag in hand to digest the day’s offerings.

Most, if they’re lucky, will make it home unmolested from predators looking to steal their meds. Others will be “taxed” if they have unpaid debts, and will go about their day empty-handed and “rattling.” Some will have picked up the meds for friends and/or family members either too stoned, depressed or sick to come out of the house (or all three). It really is tragic.

Recently released official statistics reveal there were 581 drug-related deaths in Scotland last year—the second highest number ever recorded. It comes as no surprise to discover that 41 percent of those deaths were directly related to Methadone use (Heroin and Morphine accounted for 38 percent).

Incredibly, for the second year in a row, prescribed medication, which is meant to treat drug addiction, has been responsible for more deaths than Heroin. The original idea behind the £38M(ish) tax payer-funded Methadone programme was to find a safer way for drug addicts to reduce dependency on Class A drugs.

Yet, according to a paper by the Christian Institute this week:

It is supposed to reduce dependency on Heroin, but critics say users just become “parked” on Methadone instead. The review chaired by Dr Brian Kidd, an addictions expert, said they found little evidence of a “real impetus” for addicts using Methadone to recover.

Decades of first-hand experience of drug abuse in all its forms (street and prescribed), have led me, sadly, to agree with the above statement. Most, if not all, of the people we work with who have a Methadone prescription have little or no motivation whatsoever to come off. Some are taking in excess of 100ml per day, along with Valium, other prescribed medication and (all too often) a combination of street drugs.

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mezmcconnell@churchleaders.com'
Mez has been the Senior Pastor of Niddrie Community Church since September 2007. Prior to that he spent 4 years with UFM Worldwide working with street children in Brazil, and planted the Good News Church in one of the most deprived parts of the country. He is married to Miriam and has 2 girls, Keziah and Lydia.