Had Enough: United Methodist Young People Respond to Alcohol, Other Drugs, and Related Violence
by Chad Bumgardner
The United Methodist Church has a long history of utilizing its worldwide connection to alleviate suffering. One idea that really "clicks" with young United Methodists is "connectionalism"--linking with every other United Methodist in the world.
The United Methodist Special Program on Substance Abuse and Related Violence (SPSARV) has launched a young people's health movement called Had Enough. We hope that the spirit of connectionalism will bring United Methodist young people together in their own congregations and beyond in order to:
Young people in the denomination are already taking the lead on this movement. Others will follow as the word gets out!
In substance-abuse ministry, there are generally five areas of service:
Prevention is the starting place in ministry with young people around substance abuse, but young people need a broader understanding of the problem. While all youth can choose whether to smoke, drink, or experiment with other drugs, many young people also face the fact that a loved one is in the grip of the disease of addiction.
These young people need a support network to let them know they are not alone and to provide information on:
Young people facing this problem should know:
This is what AlaTeen calls the "Three Cs": cause, control, cure. Three Cs.
United Methodist churches can provide a unique place for young people in these situations to free themselves from unwarranted guilt and shame.
Across the global connection, young people are taking action. In Africa, SPSARV-sponsored Peer Counseling Training is happening across the continent. It teaches young people the skills required to be positive examples to one another, and to provide guidance on making healthy life choices in the midst of drugs, sexual pressures, and violence.
While there is progress in reducing substance abuse among young people in the United States, alcohol and other drugs--including prescription medications and even over-the-counter products--remain problematic. Seven Villages, National Survey on Drug Use and Health
Some United Methodist campuses, like Southern Methodist University, are enacting policies intended to weaken the culture of campus drinking. Similarly, Spartanburg Methodist College has begun a pilot program, Alcohol EDU, to thwart the perceptions that heavy drinking is a mere rite of passage or social requirement.
Meanwhile, some educators are advocating to lower the drinking age, a recommendation in contrast to the position of the General Board of Church and Society. Washington Post
SPSARV endeavors to provide additional resources throughout The United Methodist Church so that young people have information and guidance to weigh differing views on alcohol and other drug use and make decisions that align their faith, health, and bright futures.
SPSARV encourages United Methodists around the world to support young people in their spiritual journeys and their struggles to live whole, healthy lives. The church is challenged to provide youth with tools to help them live in a world that frequently tells them they need substances to be complete and accepted.
Had Enough seeks to refute the claims of the drug culture through hope and faith, peer support, and the context of the United Methodist, loving, caring connection. All people deserve a world free of the destruction caused by addiction and violence.
Young persons interested in taking the Had Enough movement to their youth group or serving on the Had Enough Leadership Council, please contact Chad Bumgardner at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Chad Bumgardner is the program associate for The United Methodist Special Program on Substance Abuse and Related Violence (SPSARV).
Date posted: Sep 26, 2008