Sometimes you would never expect a person at the top of her college class to slip into heroin addiction, but that’s just what happened to Nicole at age 20. It didn’t just happen in one day. At age 13 she began using marijuana, alcohol and some drugs. Eventually more drugs entered the picture and she was taking ecstasy, cocaine and then opiates. She lived in Massachusetts which has recently seen an average of four heroin deaths per day, which is twice the national average. Journeys like Nicoles can be devastating to the addict but also to families and communities. After a long road Nicole has now been clean for a year at age 26.
We can often see or hear of situations like Nicole’s being played out all around us, regardless of where we live. When we ask the question of why heroin is so addictive, we are drawn to the research at John Hopkins. In 1972 they found that human brains contain natural receptors for opium. When substances such as codeine, morphine and heroin enter the body they have a natural landing spot in the brain. The active ingredients in opium and it’s derivatives are nearly identical to chemicals we have in our brains called endorphins. It’s what makes you feel good and gives you a sense of euphoria.
While some people exercise to feel good, others can get a stronger feeling by injection. None of the opiates work faster than heroin. When the feel-good response is over stimulated, the brain becomes fatigued and needs even more stimulation to produce the same high. This is why heroin addicts eventually take higher and higher doses until finally an overdose occurs.
Politically-correct people will call heroin addiction a disease. We don’t do that here. Let’s ask ourselves what’s life all about anyway. Much of it appears to be the gravitation toward pleasure and the avoidance of discomfort. We see that in heaven and hell. Jesus tells us people in heaven will have abundant life while those eventually cast into the lake of fire will be in torment. It’s feeling good or feeling bad. Many of our decisions on a day-to-day basis are geared to bringing pleasure or relief in some way even though there could be an attached negative implication for body, circumstances or relationships. Smoking and fast food are two examples that come to mind.
The question really becomes: do the desires and lusts of the body control our actions or do we control the actions of our body by adhering to some standard or purpose? The Bible says a person without self-control is like a city broken into and left without protection. It also says God gives His people a spirit not of fear but of power, love and self-control. Is your life one of self-control? Have you tried Jesus?