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Putting Healing Before Punishment (2018)

This report begins by showing that the war on drugs is not working. While we can’t know what the world would look like if we had not declared war on drugs, attempts at eradication have become at least as destructive as the drugs themselves. This report comes at a time when the public’s acceptance of marijuana is propelling efforts to decriminalize and legalize cannabis for medical and recreational use. this report advocates a therapeutic approach to the problems associated with psychoactive drug use and abuse. This includes effective campaigns to discourage drug use and an expansion of harm reduction programs, such as needle exchanges. It calls the church to learn from the successes and failures of nations and states that have decriminalized or legalized drug use and developed social service networks to reduce the harms associated with drug use. In addition to calling Christians to promote prevention and treatment, this report invites the church to recognize that the scale and scope of compulsively consumed drugs, including alcohol, reveals a culture-wide, spiritual problem. It calls the church to respond to the deeper issues that drive people, even non[1]addicts, to escape reality and numb pain.