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STATEMENT ABOUT YOUTH AND DRUGS
BY BRENDA GIRTON-MITCHELL
ASSOCIATE GENERAL SECRETARY OF PUBLIC POLICY
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES U.S.A.
FOR JULY 10 NEWS CONFERENCE
ON ANTI-DRUG RESOURCES FOR FAITH COMMUNITIES

Click here for the NCC news story on the release of new resources to prevent teen drug use

The National Council of Churches USA and our 36 member communions - which comprise 50 million adherents in 140,000 local congregations nationwide - recognize that we have a responsibility to love, encourage, nurture and guide our children.

We affirm the role of the church to give moral guidance and transmit positive values. Part of that is helping people cultivate self-respect and make healthy choices. In light of the challenges many young people now face, our churches play a vital role in helping parents communicate with their children about alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs. Our churches are also a vehicle through which valuable information can be disseminated to parents and youth about the dangers of substance abuse.

The use of alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs can hinder our children from fully developing their gifts and talents. In worse case scenarios, it can lead to addiction and abuse. Our faith teaches us that this is in direct conflict with Christian values and principles.

We teach our children that they are created in the image of God. We also teach them that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19-20) and that we should honor God in body and spirit, both of which belong to God.

Based on theological grounding and scientific research we understand that the use of alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs can cause harm, not only to our bodies, but also to our mental and spiritual well being. It can result in fractured relationships and harm to families. By preventing abuse of these substances, we will ultimately eliminate the serious and complicated problems that arise from their use.

Finally, our churches also encourage adults to be role models of Christian values and principles so that our children are led by example. The days are past when we can say to our children, do what I say, not what I do. The days are past when we can tell our children that they should be seen and not heard. Instead, through the preaching and teaching of the Gospel we strive to build the self-esteem of young people and create safe spaces for open conversation and interactive learning.

As our churches continue to search for creative ways to be relevant in addressing issues like substance abuse, we applaud the efforts of the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign to provide important resources that can assist us in teaching our youth how to live substance-free lives and grow to be the people that God intends.

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