Raising awareness about the opioid epidemic

March 22, 2019

The Christian Life & Public Affairs (CLPA) Special Committee is focusing on the opioid epidemic this year.

I was shocked to discover that the greatest rise in death in recent years is with a synthetic opioid analgesic called fentanyl. According the National Institute on Drug Abuse, fentanyl is “similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent.” Fentanyl is both a prescription medication as well as a black market drug produced in clandestine labs.

This drug can have the following street names: Apache, China Girl, China White, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfella, Jackpot, Murder 8, TNT and Tango & Cash. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that it is sold illegally “as a powder; spiked on blotter paper; mixed with or substituted for heroin; or as tablets that mimic other less potent opioids.”

In an article titled, “Why fentanyl is deadlier than heroin, in a single photo,” author Allison Bond notes, “Drug users generally don’t know when their heroin is laced fentanyl, so when they inject their usual quantity of heroin, they inadvertently take a deadly dose of the substance. In addition, while dealers try to include fentanyl to improve potency, their measuring equipment usually isn’t fine-tuned enough to ensure they stay below the levels that could cause users to overdose. Plus, the fentanyl sold on the street is almost always made in a clandestine lab; it is less pure than the pharmaceutical version and thus its effect on the body can be more unpredictable.”

The same article quoted Tim Pifer, the director of the New Hampshire State Police Forensic Laboratory, as saying because heroin and fentanyl look identical, and with drugs purchased on the street, “you don’t know what your taking. You’re injecting yourself with a loaded gun.”

Even an extremely small dose of fentanyl can be fatal.

Citing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data on overdose death rates from 1999 to 2017 in the United States, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that “among the more than 70,200 drug overdose deaths estimated in 2017, the sharpest increase occurred among deaths related to fentanyl and fentanyl analogs (other synthetic narcotics) with more than 28,400 overdose deaths.”

North Carolina has experienced a similar dramatic rise in death from synthetic opioid drugs (mainly fentanyl).

Moreover, even an extremely small dose of fentanyl can be fatal. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), a lethal dose of fentanyl for most people is about 2 milligrams. That’s the size of just a few grains of salt.

The most compelling reason for the rise of fentanyl is cost. It is much cheaper than illegally gained prescription opioids as well as naturally produced opioids. There are numerous national and international clandestine labs producing this synthetic drug.

Again, remember that awareness brings knowledge, and knowledge brings solutions.


by Robert E. Jordan
/  Chairman  /  BSCNC Christian Life & Public Affairs Committee

4 kinds of pastors whose churches need revitalizing

Revitalization is one of those things pastors Google when no one else is looking. As I travel across the state, I meet pastors who minister in a variety of contexts — rural, urban, small, large, plants and even replants. Some of these pastors know their church is in need of...

5 ways pastors should respond to setbacks in ministry

Things don’t always turn out the way we desire. Oftentimes, we find ourselves asking questions about why something happened, or why we didn’t see it coming. We wonder why God allowed it or have difficulty seeing how God’s plan is being accomplished through it. Phrases such as...

How families can adopt a family discipleship plan

Many parents have made 2021 the year of discipleship for their family. They have taken the challenge and implemented the “Family Discipleship Plan” in their homes. Moms and dads have made this a priority because they know they have been given the wonderful privilege of being the...

Why leading your child to Christ is a process, not just a prayer

I remember praying a prayer at age 5. As a Cubby in the Awana program at our church, I was slightly intimidated by the leader who took me into the darkened chapel and asked me if I wanted to go to heaven to be with Jesus. I didn’t know what that meant. I may have asked a few...

3 steps to being missional in your community

The COVID-19 pandemic, along with heightened racial and political tensions, have sparked massive conflicts throughout our state and nation in the last year and a half. However, in the midst of the chaos, families have a unique opportunity to be missional in their homes and...

God’s presence provides comfort in times of transition

“It isn’t the changes that do you in, it’s the transitions!” These words by the late William Bridges, who was a leading authority on organizational leadership, have been ringing in my mind throughout the last year. When our country went into lockdown due to the pandemic, it was an...

Students: An untapped resource for serving in your church

I’ve heard it said that students are the church of tomorrow, but I really struggle with that — I believe students are the church of today and the future church leaders of tomorrow. Students need adults who love Jesus, love them and take the time to disciple them. They need...

12 ways to involve every church member in VBS

Often churches consider Vacation Bible School (VBS) to be exclusively a children’s ministry event. And yet, VBS is one of the most effective evangelistic emphases many churches offer their community each year. According to "It’s Worth It" by Landry Holmes of Lifeway Publishing,...

1 Comment

  1. Michael Dixon

    I am a Southern Baptist Pastor serving Oakdale Baptist Church in Rocky Mount, NC. I am also a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist and a biblical counselor. Over 2 years ago I started an addiction recovery ministry out of our church called LIFE. Voice of America did a documentary on our program:

    https://youtu.be/3Q1HO2jNLdA

    I’m thankful for the current emphasis within the SBC on this issue.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay connected by signing up for the N.C. Baptist monthly newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!