Drugs : The Black Hole of America
Black holes are areas in outer space where the gravitational pull is so strong that almost everything in its path is absorbed like water going into a drain. Remarkably, African-Americans have overcome the black holes of slavery and legalized racial discrimination through the civil rights movement; but can we overcome the current black hole that is wreaking havoc within many of our communities—drug trafficking?
Gunshots, Black-on-Black crime, illegal drug dealing, and police sirens. These were a daily occurrence in Nottsville.* The offenders? Gang members whose violent actions held the majority of law-abiding citizens of the community hostage to fear. It was within this community that I received a firsthand perspective of how drug trafficking can destroy inner-city Black communities. I was fortunate. I had a Christian, single-parent mother whose prayers and determination helped navigate our family away from the harmful entities within this community. Many of the Black males I grew up with were not as fortunate. Most are either dead, incarcerated, or have a “deadbeat” lifestyle. The problem? Trafficking illegal drugs (i.e., crack cocaine, marijuana), one of the most devastating social diseases that has infiltrated too many of our African-American communities. While the American government has for years declared “war on drugs,” the war seems to have met with limited success, especially within the inner cities where Blacks have suffered heavy social and economic losses. Black male youth and adults are more likely to be:
- exposed to environmental circumstances that may contribute to substance abuse.1
- victims of homicide due to the violence generated from illegal drug trafficking.2
- arrested at a higher rate for drug trafficking compared to Whites. 3
African-American youth actually have substantially lower illegal drug usage compared to White youth,4 however, the battle is being lost in the arena of trafficking illegal drugs where African-Americans are disproportionately represented in state and federal prison systems for drug-related offences. 5
Every day young African-Americans make the decision to gamble on their future by entering the business of illegal drug sales. Falsely believing that this is the route to wealth and happiness, they become hypnotized by the quick access to money and influence within their peer groups. Their delusion seems to be “I won’t get caught by the police.” News Alert! Thousands of Black males have already been caught and convicted for drug felonies. Stop fooling yourself; it can happen to you!
Who should be blamed for the plight that has affected our communities? We could spend a lot of time pointing fingers, but we would probably overlook the real culprit—Satan, aka the devil. Satan is ultimately responsible for the drug trafficking tsunami that is destroying families and wreaking havoc in this world. Satan has managed to manipulate the minds of many of our youth and adults to such an extent that their thoughts are too often based solely on self-indulgence. In other words, “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:4).
Remember, one of Satan’s greatest tactics is to get us to focus exclusively on the immediate gratifications of sin, with little or no thought of the consequences. Stop for a moment and think, really think, about the costs that so many have encountered because of their drug trafficking lifestyle. Is it really worth it? “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).
Is there hope of escape for those entangled in this drug-trafficking web? Definitely! You were created by God to achieve high aspirations. In fact, “Higher than the highest thought can reach is God’s ideal for His children.”6 If you are currently living in a difficult situation, don’t blame your environment for making poor decisions. Remember some people judged Jesus because of the neighborhood He was raised in, saying, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). You do not have to become a victim of your circumstances. Rise above it and become the person God created you to be.
Take the initiative to get realistic help from local agencies that can provide professional counseling and/or drug rehabilitation resources. Not sure where to turn? Ask a social worker; they will know how best to help you.
Remember, illegal drugs, whether selling or using them, provide you with only temporary monetary pleasure, or a drug-induced high. But only Jesus can detangle you from the sticky web of drugs and replace it with the ultimate natural high that comes from knowing and accepting Him as your personal Savior. Only Jesus can provide you with hope, peace, direction, and a sense of well-being regardless of the circumstances around you (Proverbs 3:1-5). Jesus declares, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). He triumphantly declares, “I am come that [you] might have life, and that [you] might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
Want to escape the black hole of drugs and start a new, clean, refreshing life? Take God’s advice: “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2).
1 F. Belgrave, T. Clark, A. Nasim, “Risk and Protective Factors for Substance Use Among Urban African-American Adolescents Considered High Risk,” Journal of Ethnicity and Substance Abuse 7 (2008): 292-303.
2 S. Darke, J. Duflou, and M. Torok, “Drugs and Violent Death: Comparative Toxicology of Homicide and Nonsubstance Toxicity Suicide Victims,” Addiction 104 (2009): 1000-1005.
3 Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United States, 2007 (September 2008).
5 M. Harmon, “‘Fixed’ Sentencing Reforms: The Effect on the Racial Composition of Imprisonment Rates Over Time” (conference paper).
6 Ellen G. White, Education, p. 18.