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ss triple helix - winter 1999,  Use and Misuse - a Christian Perspective on Drugs (Book Review)

Use and Misuse - a Christian Perspective on Drugs (Book Review)

Use and Misuse - a Christian Perspective on Drugs - Ollie Batchelor. - Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester. 1999. - 175pp. £5.99 Pb. ISBN 0 85111 599 3

'Drug use is everybody's problem.' So begins the introduction, and in the remainder of the book Ollie Batchelor proceeds to demonstrate that 'everybody' includes Christians - and the church.

He builds his case carefully, beginning with a broad historical overview of drug use and legislation, showing how attitudes towards specific drugs have changed over time. Included in his definition of 'drugs' are the legally available and socially acceptable alcohol and tobacco. Part of his groundwork includes the clarification of drug terminology and the dispelling of

certain misconceptions about drug use, as well as a description of various commonly used psychoactive drugs and their legal classification.

He helps the Christian reader to understand the various reasons why people use drugs because this is vital to any effort to contribute positively to the drugs issue. Although he acknowledges that pleasure is probably the greatest single reason why people use drugs, for many there is also a spiritual dimension, a hunger for 'something more'.

Having laid this foundation, the author proceeds to build a framework of biblical principles which he believes should inform the Christian's own use of drugs, devoting a whole chapter to the sometimes controversial issue of alcohol. He manages to avoid being either legalistic or licentious and emphasises personal responsibility when making choices.

Ollie Batchelor then turns his attention to the church, beginning with a summary of past church involvement in drugs issues (mainly alcohol) and paying tribute to present achievements in the field. The remainder of the book points the way forward for the church, both in principle and in practice.

This is a truly excellent book - easy to read and very informative. It issues a challenge to the church, and then helps the church to meet that challenge.

Reviewed by
Marolin Watson
(works with Hope UK, a national Christian drug and alcohol education charity based in London)

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