In April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released preliminary data showing that over 90,000 Americans died as a result of drug overdoses throughout the 12-month period ending in September 2020. Of those surveyed by the CDC, 13 percent reported that they used drugs for the first time or that their usage increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these deaths are connected to fentanyl, a synthetic opioid.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), fentanyl is a morphine-like pain medication generally used for surgery recovery and chronic conditions. Because it is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine and relatively inexpensive to produce, drug dealers often prefer fentanyl as an additive to strengthen other drugs, including heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines. Per the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, many people overdose on fentanyl due to their lack of awareness that the drugs they use contain the opioid. In some cases, a drug marketed as another illicit substance is actually fentanyl, and buyers are unaware of the potential danger of a full dose of the disguised drug.
In October, CDC researchers predicted 75,000 overdose deaths in 2020. However the CDC’s release of this new information shows that projections were far below the real data for the full year, which will likely be unavailable until late summer. It is not difficult to connect the increase to the social, economic, and societal damage caused by the novel coronavirus. Although the United States and the world at large is beginning to emerge from the pandemic, many who either began abusing or increased their intake of substances will now be saddled with greater addiction issues. However, this also means the mission of Adult & Teen Challenge is still extremely relevant.
“I have said many times over the last two years and will say it again now: God wants ATC to make a bigger and deeper impact in addiction,” Gary Blackard, ATC CEO, said. “We cannot be satisfied with where we are today while tens of thousands of souls are dying every year and millions more are chained in debilitating cycles.”
“God wants ATC to make a bigger and deeper impact in addiction.”Gary Blackard, ATC CEO
As society continually faces life-controlling issues, ATC remains committed to providing modern solutions that will direct people to ultimate freedom through a relationship with Christ. At the forefront of these new efforts is the introduction of non-residential programs, which churches, communities, and individuals can implement to address the opioid crisis and other addiction-centric problems. Blackard also trusts that God will use ATC’s Forging Our Future National Conference, scheduled for June 27-30 in Orlando, to kindle fresh ideas and innovations within the organization.
“I believe the Lord will launch us out from Orlando in new and exciting ways,” Blackard said. “May the Holy Spirit go before us in our communities and begin to break strongholds and soften hearts.”