Our Christian faith calls us to teach and lead children and youth through Jesus’ example. By his example, we are called to give children special attention enabling them to be free from harm (Matthew 19:13-15, NRSV). Alarming statistics make it clear that the United States and many other countries have not given the proper attention to the use of alcohol and other drugs by children and youth and that as a society, we tolerate access to alcohol and other drugs by underage young people. For example, it is illegal in most US states to sell or give alcoholic beverages to those under 21, and illicit use and sale of controlled substances is a crime at any age, yet more than a third of children begin using alcohol before they are teens and one in ten young teens is a regular user of marijuana and other drugs. Research shows that alcohol and other drugs bring harm to growing bodies and minds. Young people with inner stamina, self-esteem, and a strong and vital faith can more readily say, “no” to alcohol and other drugs. To address this critical problem, many schools have instituted programs on alcohol and other drugs. However, the Justice Department reports that many school programs aimed to help young people have not deterred their use of alcohol and other drugs. Inattention to this critical issue and the failure of many school programs demonstrates the importance of a comprehensive action plan among faith communities to address this crisis.
Therefore, be it resolved, that The United Methodist Church supports efforts to keep children and youth alcohol free, drug free, and safe from access to illicit drug use. By following a comprehensive approach to this issue young people can understand the importance of avoiding use of alcohol and other illicit drugs to ensure that they live full and healthy lives.
An Action Plan for the Church to Combat the Use of Alcohol and Other Illicit Drugs Among Children and Youth
- We call upon individual families to pray for their children and to teach their children by precept and example the preference of avoiding beverage alcohol and illicit drugs and resisting peer pressures as a commitment to a healthy life and faith.
- We call upon all people to pray and give moral and financial support to community, church and other efforts to discourage children and teens from the use of alcohol and other drugs.
- We call upon our local congregations to include in their Christian education programs and their worship services; resources, studies, and seminars that emphasize to children and youth the detrimental effects of alcohol and other drugs.
- We call upon local congregations to observe an annual Drug and Alcohol Awareness Sunday, and to prioritize this issue within the life of the congregation as a way to challenge young people and their elders to say “no” as an aspect of their commitment to grow in their Christian faith.
- We further call upon local congregations to create a substance abuse ministry incorporating education, resources, and support for prevention and recovery which emphasizes our commitment to healing and love that is free of judgment, particularly as it relates to children and youth.
- We call upon our fellow citizens and countries to support legislation that will help to curtail availability of alcoholic beverages to youth and to support public programs that help to instill values in young people that will help them to have drug-and-alcohol-free lives.
- We call upon other religious bodies to join us in adopting resolutions and supporting efforts to curtail alcohol and drug abuse in our communities, states, and nation.
- We direct the General Board of Church and Society and the General Board of Discipleship to develop and promote resource materials to implement this concern within the connection.
REVISED AND READOPTED 2008
RESOLUTION #3043, 2008 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS
RESOLUTION #84, 2004 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS
RESOLUTION #74, 2000 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS
See Social Principles, ¶ 162L.
From The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church — 2012. Copyright © 2012 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.