Institute for Biblical & Scientific
Dr. Stephen Meyers
Causes of addiction
Information on drugs
Treatment for addiction
I worked with street people, drug
addicts, and alcoholics for over 10
years with the Kensington
Outreach Center in Philadelphia,
PA. You can view the video about
the Kensington Outreach Center
on YouTube at
6 Major Factors
Family Problems: An absent father is most likely to produce an addict.
Discipline is too harsh or too lenient. Lack of bonding between parent
& child.
Lack of self-esteem: A child growing up in a troubled family can’t feel
good about himself. They feel something is wrong with them. They feel
guilty and responsible for their parents’ problems. Love based on
Peer pressure: We don’t want to be square. We want to fit it.
Experimentation: Teenager wants to find out for himself if drugs are
really bad.
Cultural Influence: 25% of TV adds are about drugs. If you don’t feel
good take this medication.
Parental drug use: 40% of drug addicts have parents who have
problems with drugs or alcohol.
Experimentation: The most common drug used are pot and alcohol.
They learn the mood swing feels good. They trust the drug will make
them feel better.
Occasional Use: I just use it on the weekends. They now seek the
mood swing to feel good.
Regular Use: Almost every day of the week. All activities revolve
around drugs and friends who use drugs. Harmful dependence of the
drug to get high. Denies he has a problem. Projects anger on others
Addiction: Daily use and usually all day long. The user has to take
the drug to feel normal. The brains chemistry has changed to the
drug is part of the normal function of the brain. If the drug is
stopped, withdrawal sets in. Uses drugs to feel normal.
How do we handle stress and pain? We do not like
stress or pain, so we do different things to cope with
the stress or pain. Some people will eat more when
under stress or worried because it makes them feel
better. Some will exercise more. Some will gamble or
shop lift. Some will even kill, because it relieves the
stress and makes them feel better. Some teens will
choke themselves to get high. It’s all about feeling
good and avoiding stress and pain. How can drugs be
bad if they make me feel so good? This is the problem.
All illegal drugs affect the brain. They alter your
feelings and work primarily on the limbic system of
the brain. The drugs work by interfering with or
substituting for the brains natural chemicals called
neurotransmitters. When we feel good it is because
the brain has released an extra dose of a
neurotransmitter. When it reaches the receptor of
another brain cell we feel better. When a drug is
introduced, it alters the brain’s chemistry and a
vicious cycle starts. The more the drug is used, the
more the brain is affected, and the more you crave the
Our bodies were designed to avoid pain. It is a
natural reaction. If I put my hand on a hot
stove, I will receive extreme pain and will pull
my hand quickly away. Pain can be good. If I
did not receive pain messages, my hand would
be completely burned and useless. Pain is our
natural bodies’ warning system that something
is wrong. When I get a cold, my body warns me,
I need to rest more so my body can fight off the
People do better when there is a little
stress. The body is geared up for action.
Too much stress is harmful. Balance is
needed. Balance is the key. For example,
too much water and you drown, too little
water and you die of thirst. Learn good
coping skills. Learn how to handle your
stress, worries, or anger. Addiction is a
way of coping with painful reality that is
For the drug addict feeling good is top priority, and to avoid
pain at all costs. Usually the effects are devastating on the
people around them, and on themselves, yet they can not see
this. They are in denial. How can feeling so good be so bad?
Consequences of drug use are not seen, but delayed. Some
have to reach the very bottom to realize this. They loose
everything. Feelings can lead you astray. Feelings need to be
controlled. When I feel angry, I may feel like killing someone,
but I control myself. I don’t want to live the rest of my life in
jail for not controlling my anger. It may feel good at first to
yell and scream to get it off your chest, but you will probably
feel guilty later, and others around you may be hurt.
What do you do when you feel pain? What do you do when
you feel too much stress? What do you do when you feel
overwhelmed? What do you do when you are so worried
about something? How you handle pain and stress is key.
Coping with problems: Avoid the harmful ways that are at
first pleasurable, but have delayed consequences like illegal
drugs. Exercise is a good way to get rid of stress.
Don’t focus on the problem. If you keep
saying, I am not going to think about stress,
you are probably going to just think about
stress. Think about something positive.
Reward yourself when you overcome the
stress. Do something you like to do. Go to
the movies, or beach. Buy a book, or go to
the thrift shop.
If your friends are all drug addicts, you will most
likely become a drug addict. You may think they are
your friends, but they are not. They may be vey nice,
but they will pull you down. Avoid places that will pull
you down. Avoid going to the bar if you can’t control
your drinking. Most think they can control their
drinking. Just don’t go to the bar. Just don’t go near
the area that has drugs. Make new friends that can
help you.
Most addicts think they have everything under
control. They must realize they need help. They
may need a confrontation meeting from family
and friends. They may need to go to rehab
center for help. A higher power, God can help
Many of the street people are on drugs. Many
have psychological problems and are trying to
self medicate themselves with illegal drugs to
feel better. If they are given legal drugs they
don’t take them because it makes them feel
worse, or they take illegal drugs on top of them.
Four major kinds of abusive drugs
Depressants: They depress your mental functioning and
awareness of your environment. These include alcohol,
sedatives, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and narcotics.
Stimulants: They stimulate your mental abilities and
activities. The two main drugs are amphetamines and
Psychedelics: They alter your perception or reality.
There are hallucinogens (LSD, PCP) and marijuana.
Inhalants: They are drugs that are inhaled as fumes to
get high. The two main drugs are nitrates and solvents
(paints, glues, gasoline, & cleaning fluids).
Most drugs that affect the brain will also affect the eyes because they
are connected to the central nervous system. By close observation of the
eyes, and a few simple tests, a person can determine if someone is on
drugs, and what type of drug it might be.
Redness in the white part of the eye (the sclera) is common with
marijuana and alcohol. A droopy eye lid is common with heroin and
marijuana. This is when the upper eye lid touches the pupil. The bug
eye is when you see the white sclera above the iris. This is common with
PCP. A glazed or watery looking eyes may be the result of marijuana,
alcohol, and heroin, Swollen eye lids is common with marijuana, PCP,
and heroin.
The next important thing to notice is the size of the pupil. Dilated pupils
indicate cocaine or amphetamines. Very small constricted pupils
indicates heroin, PCP, or sedatives. Normal pupil size is 3 to 6.5 mm.
The pupil size is normal with marijuana and alcohol.
There are several simple tests that you can do to check for drug
influence. Shine a small light at the side of the eye, and see how fast the
eye I reacts. A slow or no reaction may indicate drugs like cocaine or
amphetamines. Inability to hold pupil contraction indicates the
influence of marijuana or sedatives.
Another test is to hold your finger out and have the person follow your
finger, up and down then left and right sideways. If the person can not
hold his eyes on your finger moving vertically and horizontally suggests
the use of alcohol or PCP. Failure to hold his eyes just horizontally may
suggest marijuana, or benzodiazepines.
For the "cross eye" test hold your finger a foot away from the person's
nose, and then move it close to the nose. If the person can not hold the
cross eye position for 5 seconds, then he may be using marijuana,
alcohol, or sedatives.
There are the old tests like walk a straight line, touch your nose, and
walk up some steps. These tests are used for alcohol but may indicate
other drug use as well. If you are a parent, and you suspect some drug
use, then have an eye test when they come home.
If there are dramatic changes in your Teenager’s behavior, school grades, friends,
activities, and health, your teenager maybe doing Drugs.
Here are 15 helpful checkpoints.
A dramatic drop in school grades.
School absences and discipline problems.
New friends that are known to use drugs.
Unwilling to bring their friends home.
Change in music to "acid rock".
Lying, stealing, or secretiveness.
Loss of interest and motivation.
Withdrawal from family activities.
Loss of money and missing things.
Unexplained absences from home.
Unkempt appearance.
Poor coordination and thinking.
Poor attention span, can't concentrate.
Possession of paraphernalia.
Odor of drugs, and use of incense.
If several of these signs fit your teenager, there is a good chance he/she is using drugs.
IKnay -Spanish Slang for Cocaine
Aqua -Spanish Slang for Cocaine
Boom Ba -Spanish Slang for Police
Ya- Yo -Spanish Slang for Cocaine
Weekend Warrior -Gets high on weekends
Straight Shooter -A long pipe used for smoking cocaine
Caps -Viles of cocaine
Rocks- Cooked Cocaine
Len Bias -Cocaine
Powder -Bags of cocaine
Bake -Baking soda used to cook cocaine
Fish Series -Bags of cocaine that is very pure
Debs -Girls who trade sex for cocaine
Man -Police
Slum -Phony Cocaine
Boy- Heroin
Girl -Cocaine
John Belushi -Cocaine & Heroin (Speed Ball)
Bowl- Pipe used for cocaine
Swag -Something stolen for cocaine
Bailing out a drug addict by giving him money, is not
going to help. It is better to buy him a cup of coffee and
give it to him. Providing money, food, shelter for an addict
is probably just helping him remain an addict. Sometimes
they need to be thrown out of the house, and be on the
street with no money, until they are willing to go to a
rehab center. Tuff love is needed.
Drug addicts are great con arts at getting money. They
have all sorts of sad storied to tell, so you will give them
money. For example, I need money to get medicine for my
dying daughter. I need money to go to a rehab shelter. I
need money to get on the el train to get to the hospital and
see my dying mother.
Acceptance: They need hope, acceptance, understanding
& forgiveness. The last thing they need is more guilt and
arguments. Don’t condone their actions.
Responsibility: They need to take responsibility and
Consequences: Let the consequences happen. Don’t bail
them out.
Confrontation: Have an intervention meeting with close
family and friends.
It is usually not until everything falls apart
that the addict will seek help. The first step to
recovery is to admit you have a problem.
Drug abuse affects the whole family.
Children are confused as to what is normal.
They have difficulty completing tasks.
They lie compulsively.
They are over critical of themselves.
They are too serious and have difficulty having fun.
They have difficulty with intimate relationships as adults.
Need for control, and excessive anger.
Need for approval and affirmation.
Feeling of being different from other people.
There is impulsive behavior.
Extreme loyalty to the abuser.
Either overly responsible or overly irresponsible.
Child thinks it is their fault.
There is depression and feelings of worthlessness.
The substance abuser: deny there is a problem. Motivated by shame
and inadequacy.
The enabler: overprotective and rescues the addict.
The family Hero: feels responsible for the addicts addiction.
Becomes an overachiever.
The scapegoat: feels inferior, the victim. Becomes bad to get
The lost child: withdraws from the family. Feels loneliness.
The mascot: the family clown or joker. Result is emotional
The substance abuser: deny there is a problem. Motivated by shame
and inadequacy.
The enabler: overprotective and rescues the addict. Anger develops.
Peace at any cost. There are four types of enablers: 1. The sufferer
tries to change the addict by showing it hurts them. They may
develop ailments and feel self pity. 2. The punisher tries to change
the addict by making life miserable for them. They are frustrated
and humiliated by the drug use. 3. The controller tries to control
every part of the addicts life. This causes frustration and resentment.
4. The waverer tries to intervene and reduce the drug use for short
times, but then goes back.
The Family Hero: feels responsible for the addicts addiction. This is
false guilt. The child becomes a super achiever to help reverse the
problem. Result is workaholism where self worth is based on
performance. Need to try harder to please others.
The scapegoat: feels inferior, the victim. Becomes bad to get
attention. Delinquent and rebellious behavior is common. They look
to their peers for source of approval.
The lost child: withdraws from the family. Feels loneliness. They are
quiet and passive. They go with the flow. They escape into their own
little world.
The mascot: the family clown or joker. Result is emotional
immaturity. To relieve the tension at home joking and antics are
used. Some of Hollywood’s greatest entertainers and comedians have
come from substance abusing homes.
Codependency: The relationship between the addict and
the family is called codependency. The whole family is
affected. Family members deny their hurt, anger, and
resentment. Family members believe that once the
addict enters the treatment program and becomes drug
free that all their problems are over with, but they have
just begun. Many times when the addict gets better, the
family gets worse. The emotional damage has not been
dealt with. It is imperative that the whole family go
through the treatment process.
Loss of loved one: When one loses a family member to addiction, it is
like the person actually died. Did I cause the addiction? What did I do
wrong? There is a great sense of guilt and responsibility. This lose leads
to grief. There are 5 stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining,
Depression, and Acceptance.
Loss of Trust: One learns quickly not to trust an addict. There have
been many lies and broken promises. This loss of trust brings forth
anger. Decide to forgive them, or your anger will only eat you up and
destroy yourself. See Luke 15:11-32 about the prodigal son returns
Loss of normality: As a child you learned to don’t talk, don’t trust, and
don’t feel to survive, but in adulthood these are counterproductive.
There may be a lost little child within. Acknowledge and deal with
negative emotions. Learn to think and feel positively. If you don’t deal
with codependency, the adult child will repeat the sins of the fathers.
What am I feeling? Anger, stress, worry, etc.
Why am I feeling this way? Someone said something
at work, or home to upset me. It always seems to be
the very little things that will get you upset the most.
What can I do about this? Positive thinking. Positive
steps. Diversion, think about something good.
Relapse happens, but is best to get back up right
Have a support system in place.
Don’t hang around old friends who do drugs. They
are really not your friends.
Get qualified counseling.
Generally, outpatient treatment is less expensive and less
Outpatient treatment works best for those who are in good
health and have a strong desire to be drug free.
Inpatient treatment is intensive and removes the addict from
the environment of drug use.
Residential programs are designed for long-term help in a
controlled environment. This may be good for a adolescent
or young adult.
Aftercare is very important so relapse is less likely. Many
relapse within one year of treatment.
Set goals for the future. Vocational programs, school, jobs.
An idol hand is an idol mind.
Counseling for Substance Abuse and Addiction by Cleave, Byrd, &
Revell. Published by Word in 1987. Much information was used from
this book.
Counseling Adult Children of Alcoholics by Sandra D. Wilson.
Published by Word in 1989.
Drug Proof Your Kids by Stephen Arterburn & Jim Burns. Published
by Focus on the Family in 1989.
Helping and Hope for the Alcoholic: Insights for friends and family from
a pastor who conquered alcoholism by Alexander C. DeJong. Published
by Tyndale House in 1982.
ACDE- American Counsel of Drug Education
NIDE- National Institute for Drug Education
NACOA-National Association for Children of Alcoholics
Pride- Prevention Resources of Information on Drug Education
Teen Challenge

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