20 million Americans over the age of 12 have an addiction (excluding tobacco). 100 people die every day from drug overdoses – this rate has tripled in the past 20 years! Over 5 million emergency room visits in 2011 were drug related. Sadly, 6.8 million people with an addiction have a mental illness. Over 90% of those with an addiction began drinking, smoking or using illicit drugs before the age of 18. Rates of illicit drug use is highest among those aged 18 to 25.
The UK fares no better – around 2.7 million people aged between 16 and 59 had taken drugs in the last year, while over 35% of the same age group had taken drugs at some time in their
life. The only positive statistic coming from the Home Office report is that overall drug use has fallen slightly in the last 10 years. More than three decades with Teen Challenge had taught
Cindy Zello how to fight the spiritual battles involved with the transformation of addicts. She says, “Brianna Di Cristo’s story [featured yesterday] is the heartbeat of God.” Both her little children now attend the Beauty for Ashes day care run by Zello’s daughter, Jessica. As fourth generation Teen Challenge staff, Jessica works toward the success of mothers and their children incorporating values that extend into the family bonding time.
DiCristo says in the beginning she hated that part of the day, because she didn’t know what to do. “Now I can’t wait to pick (my kids) up at day care and hang out and talk to them,” DiCristo
says. The Teen Challenge program also has promoted positive family dynamics with her dad. DiCristo exudes happiness as she describes how her father and other family members make the drive from Florida every month just to spend a few hours with her and the children. In addition, her aunt recently joined a Teen Challenge program in upstate New York. DiCristo finishes the standard program soon and has jump-started her six-month reentry phase by attending classes to become a medical assistant.
“God opened up every single door,” she says. The trade school even provided a scholarship so she wouldn’t have student loans. Armed with the life skills and support system she needs plus a vibrant relationship with the Lord, DiCristo faces the future knowing she’s headed in the right direction.
Source: PENews; addictioncenter.com; Home Office Statistics
Bible Study: Romans 12:2
APRIL: Praise God that Teen Challenge has developed effective ways of rehabilitating addicts. Pray WIDER that their efforts may be multiplied all round the world.