Drugs & Christian attitudes
- A person's use of drugs can start to control them and lead to physical and mental problems.
- There are four main groups of drugs, these include illegal drugs, medically prescribed drugs, alcohol and tobacco:
1) STIMULANTS- includes caffeine and tobacco, crack and anabolic steroids. Affect the cental nervous system, increases brain activity and makes people alert, less tired and lifts the user's mood. High doses can cause nervousness, anxiety and paranoid psychosis ( when a person loses touch with reality)
2) DEPRESSANTS- includes alcohol, solvents and aerosols. Reduce brain activity, relieve tension or anxiety and promote relaxation. Also reduce mental and physical functioning and self-control.
3) ANALGESICS- painkillers which include heroin, opium and codeine. Reduce sensitivity to emotional and physical pain, gives people a sense of warmth and contentment.
4) HALLUCINOGENS- include cannabis, LSD and ecstasy. Heighten sensory experiences and may distort perception and cause hallucinations and feelings of insight.
- They a banned substances, people can be charged with offences in possessing or dealing them.
- In the UK, these substances are defined under the misuse of drugs act 1971 (modified in 2001)
- Drugs are organised in different classifications according to their danger:
CLASS A- includes Ecstasy, LSD, heroin, cocaine, crack and magic mushrooms CLASS B- includes amphetamines and cannabis CLASS C- includes tranquilisers
- Christian churches are opposed to the use of illegal drugs:
"The use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offense. Clandestine production of and trafficking in drugs are scandalous practices. They constitute direct co-operation in evil, since they encourage people to practices gravely contrary to the moral law." - Catechism 2291
Socially accepted drugs: alcohol and tobacco
- Alcohol and tobacco are defined as socially accepted drugs but there are laws that affect who can buy them and where they can be consumed.
- Far more harm is caused by tobacco and alcohol than illegal and prescription drugs as they are widespread and easy to obtain
- Many Christians use alcohol in worship (based on Jesus' last supper and practise of the early Church (1 Corinthians 11:24))
- Others, such as members of the Salvation army, many Methodists and Pentecostal Christians oppose it.
The politics of drugs
According to the UK Government Science Select Committee, the most harmful drugs are:
4) Street Methadone
- "more people are killed every year by sniffing glue than snorting cocaine"