Through The Gate has been blessed to survive the lockdowns and public fear from Covid, which resulted in a decrease of both services and support of our ministry. There is a rapid increase in overdose deaths in America, yet a rapid decrease in programs to help (the number of Christ-centered programs is even fewer). The New York Times reported “The biggest jump in overdose deaths took place in April and May, when fear and stress were rampant, job losses were multiplying and the strictest lockdown measures were in effect. Many treatment programs closed during that time, at least temporarily…”.
An article from the Wall Street Journal reports that more than twice as many people died from addiction as from Covid-19 in San Francisco alone, stating that “a record 708 people died of drug overdoses in 2020, a 61% increase from the previous year. By comparison, 254 people died of Covid-19 in the city last year.” Another commentator reflects on the lockdowns, stating that “Surging drug overdose deaths was one of those “unintended” or “secondary” consequences”. Reports from the same source show that overdose deaths from synthetic opioids rose 162% in the Las Vegas area and showed a 26% increase of overdose deaths among the homeless population during the first seven months of 2020.
The comment section beneath these articles reflects the public stigma against those who struggle with addiction. One person mocked, “I have to wonder if drug overdose is Darwin at work”, suggesting that their deaths are a part of the necessary progression of society. Another voice opinionates that it was “the lesser of two evils” to allow the addicts to perish in hopes of saving those with COViD. They implore, “if San Francisco had stayed open…drug deaths would probably not have gone up as much as they did, but Covid deaths would have skyrocketed.. Sometimes you have to choose the lesser of two evils.”
Scripture teaches that all people are created in the image of God: the wealthy, the homeless, the healthy, the addict, the sick, the weak, the well, the broken, prisoner, the free, the sinner and the saint. While some precautionary measures are wise, living in fear of COViD is not how we are called to live. Nor are we called to abandon those who seem hopeless. Christ declares, “For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me…truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” (MATT25:34-40). Death is the consequence of the Fall and we are all marching toward it. So whether contending with the effects of addiction or COVID, we aren't called to live in fear. There is hope in Christ through all afflictions and the promise of eternal deliverance.
Wallstreet Journal Article Reference:
New York Times Article Reference: