Lent Remixed, week six: Russia and Alcohol Abuse

April 6, 2014

For our sixth week of Lent, we are focusing on the issue of alcohol abuse. 

 A Central Minnesota judge once told me
Image via Edwin Land on Flickr
he believed that fully 80% of all the cases on his docket were related, in some way, to substance abuse -- meaning that if no one abused drugs and alcohol, our judges, lawyers and law enforcement agencies would have very little to do!  

Substance and alcohol abuse destroys the life of the person addicted and does immeasurable collateral damage to the lives around him or her.  

While this is an issue impacting every country, including the United States, we are highlighting Russia this week.  A recent study on drinking habits revealed that 25% of Russian men die before they reach age 55; the statistic in the United Kingdom is 7%.*

And while it is tempting to shrug and think that adults get to make choices and then face the consequences, chronic binge drinking and rampant alcoholism in that nation not only cuts the life of the individual short, it is destroying their future generations.  Studies conducted on adopted children from Russia and China found that between 29%-68% of the Russian children had Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) while none of the Chinese children showed symptoms of FAS.**

FAS affects a person’s cognitive abilities and their behavior and impulse control -- and, as of 1987, it was the leading known cause of intellectual disability in the Western world.  And while it is certainly a problem in the US and other countries, it is profoundly affecting Russia's future generations.

What can we do?

Pray. This week we will pray for freedom from alcohol and substance abuse for our loved ones, people we know, and the Russian nation.   

Fast. We will fast from our favorite beverage -- whether that is a glass of wine with dinner, a cup of coffee in the morning, or that beloved diet cola over lunch.  

Give. This week we are going to make a donation to Teen Challenge.  This is a trusted Minnesota Christian organization that gives individuals struggling with alcohol and substance abuse a second chance in a Christ-centered setting. 


*Vodka blamed for high death rates in Russia, by Tulip Mazumdar, January 31, 20124, Tulip Mazumdar, http://www.bbc.com/news/health-25961063; last visited 4/6/14.

**Fetal alcohol disorders common in adopted, foster kids, by Genevra Pittman on September 9, 2013, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/09/us-fetal-alcohol-disorders-idUSBRE98804I20130909; last visited 4/6/14

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