Alcohol and drug addiction
The Salvation Army accepts that many drugs beneficial to health can produce addiction. Only the physician can weigh the advantages and the risks attendant on their prescription for each patient.
The deliberate misuse of such drugs to induce either oblivion or hallucinatory states is condemned. The physical, mental and emotional disturbances due to such misuse are well known to Salvation Army officers, who will continue to offer treatment to the victims of addiction, realising that such practices stem from deep emotional and spiritual problems and are peculiarly common in young persons.
By far the commonest addictive drug is alcohol, and this addiction is on the increase in most parts of the world. The Salvation Army, recognising both spiritual and temporal dangers inherent in the use of alcoholic beverages, has historically required total abstinence of its soldiers and officers. While not condemning those outside its ranks who choose to indulge, it nevertheless believes total abstinence to be the only certain guarantee against over-indulgence and the evils attendant on addiction.
We believe that experience has shown a direct connection between the incidence of addiction and the easy availability of alcoholic beverages and the increasing social acceptance of their consumption. We are therefore active in promoting legislation likely to reduce the consumption of alcohol.
While attitudes to both the cause and treatment of alcoholism have changed radically in the past 100 years, The Salvation Army, which maintains large treatment programmes in many parts of the world, still believes that total abstention is the only successful course open to an addict.
Its programmes use the best of medical and psychological treatment, but realising that, in most instances, profound social and moral issues are involved, they draw on a long experience in social rehabilitation, in which the power of God unto salvation has proved the most effective agent of character change and therefore the most effective force in rehabilitation.