Blog Entry

Google the phrase, “Drug Overdoses in 2016” and you’ll get a long list of headlines from all over America. These are a few that were reported in the month of November alone.

21 heroin overdoses reported in Ohio in a day as state battles epidemicCNN – November 12, 2016

Portsmouth police respond to six heroin overdoses in in 12 hours -  WVEC ABC 13 – November 14, 2016

Heroin overdoses spike in Lake County, IL CBS Chicago – November 1, 2016 - Nine overdose deaths in one week

Drug overdose deaths in Maine now averaging 1 a dayPortland Press Harold – November 14, 2016

 5 overdoses, 3 fatal in Beverly [MA] Saturday -  The Salem News – November 20, 2016

The small city of Huntington, WV made national news in August when 27 heroin overdoses were reported within a four-hour period.  That same month, Cincinnati, OH experienced 174 heroin overdoses in just 6 days.  In March, it was reported that 30 people in the Metro Richmond, VA area had died from heroin overdose in just one week.  The November 19, 2016 edition of the Palm Beach Post reported that in 2010, heroin overdose patients were admitted to Florida emergency rooms about once every two days.  In the 2015, it was one every 90 minutes.   The problem is growing in every county in America, both urban and rural.  This is a national epidemic that is affecting every one of us.

Every day, more new stories are being reported across the country that only add to the numbers.  Unfortunately, numbers can become like white noise, and they cease to get our attention.  We hear them but they don’t register.  We move on with our busy days unaffected by the fact that so many are dying all around us.  That’s because numbers don’t tell the whole story.  They don’t tell how the people trapped in addiction suffer.  They don’t tell of the heartbreak a grieving mother and father feel after losing the fight to save their child.  Numbers don’t reflect the pain a child experiences when they discover their mom or dad unconscious or dead on the floor or in the car.  Numbers just don’t tell enough of the story to move most of us into action.

At New Life For Youth, we see the suffering first-hand and we work to keep people from becoming another number.  All our residential directors were once addicts themselves.  Each one came to New Life For Youth to get help and found healing here.  Each director has chosen to devote their life to helping others overcome addictions and discover a new life of their own.  They know first-hand the struggles their students are going through and they give understanding that few others could.  They offer hope from their own experiences.  At New Life For Youth, we fight against the numbers and for the lives behind them.

Here are some stories of lives that might have become more numbers if they hadn’t come to New Life For Youth. 

Kevin grew up in a normal middle-class family in Northern Virginia.  As he looked forward to graduation and considered his college choices, he had a bright and promising future ahead of him.  Then he suffered a sport injury and was prescribed opiates for the pain.  Within weeks, Kevin found himself dependent on drugs and trapped in a cycle he could not escape.  He felt as though something else had taken over his body and was forcing him to do things he didn’t want to do.  He never wanted to become addicted to heroin, but it happened.  And he could not save himself. 

Meagan was born into a household where drugs were used on a regular basis.  As a child she watched her mother and father both use drugs.  As she grew older she watched her sister begin using drugs.  It was only a matter of time before Meagan would start using the drugs that were being used by the rest of her family.  But when her sister died from an overdose, Meagan made up her mind to find a way out.  But, soon after coming to New Life For Youth for help, she received the horrible news that both her parents had died just hours apart.  The other young women enrolled at New Life For Youth became Meagan’s family and they helped her cope with the pain without the use of drugs.

Anthony was a single dad with two sons who counted on him.  The marijuana that he thought he could control led to other drugs, each more powerful than the last.  Then one day he realized that he could not walk away from heroin, it controlled him.  He could not live without it. 

Each of these young people would have certainly become another number reported on the local news.  But they refused to be remain slaves to the power of heroin.  They each came to New Life For Youth for help.  These three individuals are among almost 100 people who are currently enrolled at New Life For Youth and living drug free.  They are learning to rebuild their lives without drugs.  They are discovering a new life, the life that God has planned for them.  What's more, the young men and women enrolled at New Life For Youth represent more than 50 children who did not lose their mom or dad to drugs.  These young men and women did not become another number.   Instead, they are rebuilding their lives and their families and they're looking forward to the future with hope and optimism. 

The next time you hear about another person dying from heroin overdose, remember that they aren’t just a number.  That person is somebody’s child, husband, wife, or mom or dad.  Then please, consider helping New Life For Youth as we work to free as many people as we can from the bondage of drug addiction.  You can volunteer your time or you can make a tax-deductible contribution.  And we always covet your prayers for this ministry and for the young men and women God brings to us for healing.  Thank you for your support!


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