Many who advocate keeping drugs illegal maintain that poverty and environmental conditions (e.g., neighborhood, quality of schools, intact family, etc.) often “force” people to make bad decisions. One comes away with the impression that only the poor and uneducated take drugs. But we know that this is not the case. People with fine educations and lots of money indulge in drug taking. “Ecstasy” is a drug being used almost exclusively by “young, upper-middle-class party-goers.”[1] Hollywood and the music business keep the Betty Ford Center in business.

In addition, there are lots of poor and uneducated people who do not take drugs.  Anyway, how much education does a person need to have to know that drugs are not good for you?  Have you seen the commercial where an egg is dropped in a pan of hot grease and the commentator says, “This is your brain on drugs”? The lesson?  Taking drugs will fry your brain.  What more needs to be said?  How much more education does a person need?  A lack of education is not the problem.  These kids, and not a few adults, know that drugs are bad for them.  Hopelessness is the main reason people take drugs.  Robert Sweet, a federal trial judge in New York City, one of the participants in a debate on the subject of legalization, understands that “The addicted are the ones who have lost hope in society.”[2] They have lost hope in society because they have heard all their lives that sin is no longer a reality.  They need to be shown that sin is their disease and Jesus is their physician.

  • Evangelist: What are you weeping for?
  • Christian: Sir, this book in my hand tells me to flee from the wrath to come. Also, I fear that this burden, which is upon my back, will sink me lower than the grave.  Therefore, I need to get rid of it.
  • Evangelist: If this is so, then why are you standing still?
  • Christian: Because I don’t know where to go.
  • Evangelist: Do you see yonder wicket-gate?
  • Christian: No.
  • Evangelist: Then do you see a shining light?
  • Christian: I think I do.
  • Evangelist: Keep that light in your eye, and go in that direction.  So shall you reach the gate. There, when you knock, it will be told you what to do.[3]

This is the plight and solution to every sinner’s problems.  All of us, one time or another, have tried some promised remedy to rid ourselves of the burden of sin and guilt.  For a number of people, when it does not come, they turn to the needle or the bottle.

Ben Carson graduated from “Detroit’s toughest, poorest neighborhoods.  And he knew first-hand the sense of hopelessness and despair that” graduates of inner city schools feel about the future.[4] At seventeen Carson was a knife-wielding thug.  His mother had married when she was thirteen and divorced when Ben was eight.  Ben was such a poor student that getting a “D” on a math assignment was a sign of encouragement for Ben’s mother and teachers.  Ben could have turned to drugs.  If an act of providence had not broken the knife blade that he was about to plunge into the gut of a young man, he would probably be in prison, or dead.  What does Ben do today?  He’s a pre-eminent neurosurgeon.  And for those who care about such things, Dr. Ben Carson is black.  There really are no excuses for dabbling in the stupor of drugs.  And government programs certainly aren’t any answer for those who do.


[1] W. Stevens Ricks, “Yuppie ‘Love Drug’ Becoming a Favorite In Northside Clubs,” The Atlanta Journal and Constitution (July 30, 1989), A-14. [2] Cited in Ronald Baer, “A judge who took the stand: It’s time to legalize drugs,” U.S. News & World Report (April 9, 1990), 26. [3] An adaptation of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress taken from Dangerous Journey: The Story of Pilgrim’s Progress (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1985), 15
[4] Christopher Phillips, “Ben Carson: Man of Miracles,” Reader’s Digest (April 1990), 71.