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November 12, 2017 is
Orphan Sunday


Community Clergy Training
from the VA -
Pastoral care for rural
veterans and families.
Various locations/dates.







Addictions and Substance Abuse

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 15.1 million American adults and another 623,000 adolescents aged 12-17 were classified as needing treatment for an alcohol use disorder in 2015. Over 9,000 persons died as a result of alcohol-impaired driving.  In 2015, 58.2% of America's students through grade 12 had used alcohol in the past year, and over one-fifth of twelth-graders had used marijuana in the past month. Clearly, substance abuse is a problem of epidemic proportions in our society. 

Although the Assemblies of God promotes abstinence from the use of alcohol, many persons may be dealing with substance abuse problems when they come to faith, or have family and friends who need help. Churches and individuals are encouraged to engage in compassionately addressing substance abuse problems in their communities, both in the church context and in partnership with local schools, law enforcement, and community groups.

To view the position paper on this topic, click here
To read the U.S. Missions Philosophy of Ministry
on this topic, click here.

Listen to an anointed, compassionate sermon on this topic
by an Assemblies of God pastor and executive presbyter, here.


The General Council of the Assemblies of God® addresses the needs of those struggling with alcohol and drug addictions through the work of Teen Challenge USA, one of the "7 Windows to America" of U.S. Missions. Visit the Teen Challenge USA website to find a center in your area, get more information about the program, or to arrange a speaker for your church or group.

Read "Reaching the Addicted, Then and Now," from PE News for more about
the ministry of Teen Challenge.

FAQ's and Statistics

The U.S. government monitors substance abuse data and makes it available at several different agency websites.  Here are a few suggestions of what's where:   

    White House Office of National Drug Control Policy - statistics, recent initiatives, overview of national drug control strategy.

    Department of Health and Human Services - The opioid crisis and what is being done about it. A special section details teen substance abuse by state.

    "Facing Addiction in America:The Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health" - Downloadable executive summary, key findings, and supplementary materials from this first-ever report released in December, 2016.

    The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that alcohol is the most widely abused substance among America's youth, resulting in huge risks to their health and safety.  The NIAAA website offers statistics, warning signs, and suggestions for intervention.  

   Alcohol use statistics from the Center for Disease Control

   From - "Understanding Drug & Alcohol Addiction on College Campuses" - how extensive is the problem and what risk factors are involved?

  Drinking Statistics from the National Institute on Health

   Fact sheets and informative publications from the Drug Enforcement Administration: Controlled substance schedules, how different drugs are abused and their effects, and more,

   FAQ Centers for Disease Control

   SAMHSA Report: Estimates from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health

   From the Centers for Disease Control - "Tips from Former Smokers" campaign. Statistics showing the cost of tobacco addiction, along with hard-hitting and sometimes graphic stories of people who live with heart problems or side effects of cancer treatment.

Several non-government organizations' websites offer statistical information along with ways to find help: - Treatment providers by state along with FAQs, links to immediate help, help navigating insurance, and more. - Comprehensive discussion of types of treatment for alcohol abuse, listing of treatment options by state, and a toll-free number to talk confidentially about getting help.

    Who drinks, and who uses drugs? And why?  Check out "By the Numbers" from The Oaks Treatment Center.

    What exactly is addiction?  What types of addiction are most prevalent?  Get this information and more from The Addiction Center website.

    AddictionResource website - informational website for those struggling with addiction or for family and friends trying to help.  Includes a confidential self-assessment, and FAQs including how to work with insurance for treatment.

    Drug Rehab - Connecting addicts and their families with the information they need to get help. Site includes a helpful FAQ section. offers lists of treatment centers by state, including faith-based and specifically Christian providers for each state.

    Drug Treatment Center Finder - Listing of treatment centers by state, plus helpful articles organized by specific substance, about the particular risks, withdrawal symptoms, etc.

    Prescription drug abuse: Who and how?  See "Opioid Addiction 2016 Facts and Figures" from the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

    Pornography is becoming an addiction of epidemic proportions.  Get the latest statistics from Covenant Eyes, a Christian internet accountability organization.


   Contact any Teen Challenge Center to ask about scheduling a speaker, testimonies from Teen Challenge graduates, or even a musical program.

   Paul Palmer and the Atlanta Dream Center staff



Resources and Training for the Church

  Be the catalyst for change in your community: Invite concerned neighborhood residents, law enforcement, civic groups, and representatives from recovery programs to join your church for an awareness session.  Check the organizations and ministries listed below for resources.


   SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) offers a variety of resources for faith-based and community partnership initiatives. Get the guidelines you need to work with government resources.

   From the Department of Health and Human Services - Help mobilize community partnerships to address the opioid epidemic with the  "Toolkit for Faith and Community Leaders"

   Teen Challenge Discipleship: Studies for individuals and small groups, including "Living Free" curriculum. This curriculum benefits the entire faith setting, including those in recovery, their families, and anyone who wants to grow in their faith and knowledge of practical discipleship. See recent PE News article for a testimony about Living Free.

   Celebrate Recovery: Christ-centered recovery ministry operating in churches nationwide.  Visit their website for information about starting a group, or to find a group near you.

   The Fuller Institute for Recovery Ministry trains pastors, chaplains, and other ministry or lay leaders to minister effectively to recovering individuals in their churches or in recovery programs.

    State and regional coalitions often provide training for faith groups wishing to get involved in substance abuse prevention through mentoring, hosting support groups, etc. Search "mentoring opportunities for substance abuse prevention" and your location for possibilities, or see Prevention Consultants of Missouri for a sample of available resources. 

Additional Resources

Residential Recovery Programs and Support Groups

 In process: Compilation, arranged geographically, of churches and community groups offering support groups using faith-based variations of 12-step curriculum.  Check back soon! In the meantime, helpful resources are listed below.

   Living Free: Recommended by Teen Challenge, this small group ministry program helps churches and individuals identify strategies for effectively working to address life-controlling problems in their communities. Visit their website for a resource catalog and information about starting a ministry or finding one near you. 

   Blog post: "Easing Kids into Support Groups" - Creating a setting where kids make friends, have fun, and feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and struggles about a parent's addiction?  Never easy and takes patience, according to this writer, but so worthwhile.

   Restorative Interventions - Faith-based intervention, education, and family restoration to help families motivate a loved one to enter treatment.

   Residential recovery programs for young women struggling with addictions: Mercy Multiplied

   Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation: Inspired by the former First Lady's transparency about her own struggles and her passion to help others, the Foundation operates several treatment centers as well as offering educational materials and family support. Their post, "Defusing the Cravings Bomb in Addiction Recovery" is a helpful explanation of how the brain can be triggered, even well into recovery, and how awareness of those triggers helps with management skills.

   Overcomers Outreach: Network of Christ-based 12-step meetings - find a group

   Are restorative programs that address the root causes of addiction a better use of financial resources than long prison sentences? Many states and private organizations believe so. For an example, read about "Women in Recovery" from Family & Children's Services of Oklahoma in partnership with the Kaiser Family Foundation.

   Elite Rehab Placement - This site offers helpful information about how to select a rehab program, help with insurance concerns and verifying coverage, and even travel assistance.


Recent Articles and Posts

  Making the connection between trauma and addiction can be a key component in successful long-term recovery.  See this blog post, "Breaking the Cycle of Substance Abuse in Trauma Victims," from Maryland Recovery.

  "Mothers of Hope" - Home of Hope, a Teen Challenge ministry in Arizona, gives moms recovering from addiction and abuse the opportunity to have their children with them while they rebuild their lives and relearn or improve their parenting skills.

   From PE News: A former football player shares how an injury led to his abuse of prescription pain medications and, eventually, heroin, in "The Opioid Rage." Now actively involved in recovery ministry with Teen Challenge, he helps others find freedom and works to spread awareness of the risks and dangers. Also in PE News, see "Understanding Addiction: Why is it so powerful?" 

  For another look at the political and financial complexities of America's opioid addiction problem, see "Drug Dealers in Lab Coats," a recent opinion piece by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.

   "Why Peer Support is Playing a Growing Role in Addiction Recovery" - Check out this story of a Missouri peer group experiencing success in empowering one another, and why the group's founder believes states should do more to support peer groups.

    Many people smoke cigarettes as a way to cope with the emotional and physical stress of recovery. This post from The Recovery Village blog, "Smoking Cigarettes in Recovery," empathizes with the need to manage stress but reminds readers of the health concerns.


Other Resources  

      New from Hazelden - with the growing acceptance of medical marijuana and push for legalization has come a decreased perception of the risks involved. Check out "Marijuana: A Prevention and Education Toolkit for Communities" to get the facts.

      National Alliance for Drug-Endangered Children - Facilitating community partnerships to train practitioners to identify children in drug-endangered environments and respond appropriately to their needs. A variety of training formats including webinars, conferences, downloadable resources, and FAQ section. - Great resources for parents about talking with teens and observing warning signs of substance abuse.

      Recall Report - If you have a chronic condition or care for someone who does, browse this informative website citing the latest research on drugs used to treat various conditions, including those that affect specialized populations such as veterans, the homeless, or persons suffering from mental illness. Describes side effects, risk of addiction, and recall information.

      A Sober Mom's Guide to Recoveryby Rosemary O'Connor - Parenting is tough enough without the complication of trying to live successfully in recovery. Moms in recovery may need special encouragement as they struggle with guilt, wonder if their kids will have addiction issues, or navigate financial and schedule challenges. This book offers help for "taking care of yourself to take care of your kids."

      The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) - Links to affiliate recovery groups; information about various addictive substances; support for families and friends, including how to conduct an intervention. 

      Addiction is tough on families and friends who love the addicted individual.  12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery offer a component for families; also check out Families Against Narcotics (FAN),, and The Addict's Mom for a supportive, understanding online community.

    AddictionResource,,, and The Addiction Center:   Browse these informative websites for an overview of types of addictions, symptoms, treatment options, encouraging and helpful links for concerned families and friends, and how to determine if your insurance or other sources will help cover the cost. There is also information about "hidden" addictions such as gambling, shopping, or compulsive eating, and their connection to other types of addiction. - "the UK's leading treatment helpline," offering qualified counselors via a helpline, text message, or online chat, in addition to an informative website of treatment options in the UK and worldwide.

     Research from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation's Butler Center for Research - "Alcohol Abuse Among Law Enforcement" - Research examining the effects of the constant stress and trauma experienced by first responders. Read an excerpt or download the report.

   "Bridgers" - New program from the VA to help veterans transition into a productive life following completion of addiction treatment. For additional information about veterans and substance abuse, check out

   Set Free Ministries offers personal counseling and Biblical discipleship for various forms of addiction and oppression.  Visit their website for free downloadable position papers and other resources outlining the Biblical position on several current topics.

   View this amazing trailer of the award-winning documentary, "Healing Neen," the story of one woman's journey from the depths of suffering and abuse, using alcohol and drugs as a deadly way to cope, to healing through God's grace and becoming a leading voice for trauma-informed therapy.  Visit to see the trailer and order the DVD or memoir.

   For additional information on the complex relationships between substance abuse and victimization or trauma, see the Office for Victims of Crimes publication, Gaining Insight, Taking Action: Basic Skills for Serving Victims (DVD with companion discussion guide). This excellent resource for victim advocates stresses the importance of collaboration, especially with the faith-based community, in assisting crime victims who are also dealing with substance abuse.

    Tips for addressing trauma in the context of substance abuse recovery are also available from Hazelden Publishing.

    Alcohol and pregnancy: find educational resources about drinking during pregnancy, plus help for caregivers of alcohol-affected children, at

    The National Association for Christian Recovery website features links to Christian resources, blogs, referrals for finding help, and more.


Pornography Addiction Resources

    As this article from Relevant reports, secular and faith-based researchers alike are concerned that "Porn Addiction Is Now Threatening An Entire Generation."

     Find help protecting your children from the dangers of online pornography at Protect Young Eyes. Discussion of devices, how various apps work, and more to equip parents for meaningful conversation with their children and teens.

    Get reliable, faith-based accountability software through Covenant Eyes.  Special pricing for families and groups.  Check out their resources for individuals, families, and churches, including e-books and free downloadable materials, here.  They also offer helpful material for spouses of those recovering from porn addiction, such as this article - "What Every Wife of a Sex Addict Has a Right to Know about Her Husband's Recovery."

    Do porn cravings signify some deeper need, and lead to consumption of porn to satisfy it? Covenant Eyes explores ways porn deceptively tricks users into believing it is satisfying those needs, in "19 Possible Motives Triggering Porn Consumption."

    Be Broken Ministries - Help for anyone struggling with sexual brokenness, including pornography addiction and affairs.

    Pornography affects the brain in similar ways to that of drug abuse, and it is just as addictive.  Learn more at  Find resources for recovery from sexual addiction at and

    Find quality entertainment for your family that doesn't include access to questionable channels and shows.  Pure Flix offers reasonably priced, faith-based viewing alternatives.


School Program Resources

   School presentations about the dangers of online pornography - Protect Young Eyes  

   Positive relationship skills can help students choose friends wisely and avoid being in tempting or compromising situations. Visit The Center for Relationship Education for information on school presentations, brochures, and helpful blog posts.

    "Too Good Programs" - Educator training that aligns with the health education standards for many states, teaching children they have value and are "too good" for drugs, violence, and other social ills.

   "The good news is that resilience skills can be learned," says the American Psychological Association about children who experience emotional trauma at home. Find out how teachers can help those children avoid turning to harmful coping methods, in this article, "Resilience Guide for Parents and Teachers." 

   National Drug Facts Week planning resources

   "Stay Sharp" high school presentation (Teen Challenge)

   Prevention toolkits and educator information from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) - Resources to help parents engage their kids in important prevention conversation.

   Teen Intervene Collection from the Hazelden Foundation and Hazelden Publishing - For use in youth settings to assist with self-identification, intervention, and guidance toward treatment.


Did you know--

Are you wondering about the drugs recommended for you or a loved one for controlling pain? Read one woman's story in "I Was the Perfect Mom and Wife--and Secretly Addicted to Opioids," and learn what made her realize she had to do something about it. Learn what the Department of Health and Human Services is doing to combat the problem of prescription drug abuse.  

According to the Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration, a significant number of young people first experience substance abuse not from some dark alley interaction with a shady dealer, but with leftover prescription drugs from their parents' medicine cabinet. Follow these guidelines from the DEA for disposing of your leftover medicine.



View additional ministry topics and resource sharing guidelines here.







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Fax: 417-863-7276

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