I tried something “new” today—conducting a seminar about drugs. It’s been years since I’ve taught a lesson on drug use/abuse.
A Little Background:
Most of you probably don’t know this, but I worked as a substance abuse counselor before I came to the Philippines. I spent about five years helping addicts. Much of what I learned actually helped me to be a better missionary and campus minister. Here are a few valuable lessons I learned as a counselor:
*I learned to relate to a different culture. Those who use drugs kind of have their own terminology (nicknames for drugs, etc). I became familiar with their “language,” even though I had no personal experience with drug use.
*I learned to cross racial barriers. Both my teammates and clients were from different racial backgrounds.
*I learned that there are a lot of hurting people out there. Many addicts use drugs to medicate their personal pain. I learned how to minister to those who are hurting.
*I learned that with God’s help, people can made radical changes. I still keep in touch with some of my former clients. I see them leading productive lives—with God there’s always hope!
Back to the Seminar:
The counseling department at FEU asked me to speak to a group of about 200 on this topic. I talked about the categories of drugs, their effects, and the process of recovery. These were nursing students, so I’m sure they’ll encounter patients with drug abuse issues.
Amphetamine (“meth”) use/abuse is the number 1 drug problem in the Philippines. It is called shabu here. I showed the students a few before/after pictures from facesofmeth.com—judging by the students’ gasping, it made a strong point.
I also showed the students a film entitled Taghoy sa Dilim (roughly translated: “weeping in the darkness”). This is a 30 minute Tagalog video which documents drug addiction in the Philippines (special thanks to Gospel Communications International for donating this film).
I ended the seminar with some information about cigarettes. I didn’t give them any statistics—I just let some graphic commercials do the talking for me (sample below). I gave the students some information about quitting.
Special thanks to FEU for inviting me. Thanks to all of those students who attended and asked questions! I’m proud to be your Kuya!
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