SIGNS OF THE TIMES

Truth in the Time of the Signs

Addictions

For relevance and to limit the article to a reasonable length mainly UK figures are presented here but generally these issues are global.

Drugs

  • The number of deaths in England and Wales due to the synthetic opioid fentanyl rose by 29% in 2017.  
  • Earlier this year, security minister Ben Wallace warned the UK was “fast becoming the biggest consumer of cocaine in Europe”.
  • England and Wales’s rate of 66.1 drug deaths per 1 million, is now more than three times the rate for the EU, Turkey and Norway.
  • In Scotland, drug deaths hit a record high in 2017 and were the worst in Europe.
  • The NHS Statistics on Drug Misuse Report, issued on 29th November 2019 states;’ – ‘There were 7376 hospital admissions for drug related mental health and behavioural problems – 30% higher than in 2008 / 2009’; – ‘There were 18,053 hospital admissions for poisoning due to drug misuse – 16% higher than in 2012 / 2013’; – ‘There were 2,917 deaths due to drug misuse – 46% higher than in 2008.

A longer-term problem is masked by many statistics grouping 16 to 59-year olds together – 1 user in 11 overall in the last year. However, the underlying trend in 16 to 24-year olds is around 1 in 5 (19.8%) had taken a drug in the last year and UK drug purchases via the Darknet have doubled since 2014.

Obesity

Laura Donnelly – Health Editor for The Telegraph, reported on 14 November 2019

  • The NHS could collapse under the strain of Britain’s weight problem, experts have warned, as research shows that 13 million adults are now classed as obese. 
  • A new report warns of a doubling in obesity levels in two decades, with record numbers being treated for Type 2 diabetes. 
  • It follows warnings that the numbers being treated in hospital for obesity-related conditions have risen by almost one quarter in just one year. 
  • Obesity is the most significant driver for new cases of type two diabetes, accounting for up to 85 per cent of risk and one in ten patients admitted to hospital are suffering from the condition. 
  • Total spending on devices and drugs for the condition have now reached more than £1bn a year.

Gambling

The Guardian reported on 24thAugust 2017:

  • The report by the Gambling Commissionestimated that the number of British over-16s deemed to be problem gamblers had grown by a third in three years, suggesting that about 430,000 people suffer from a serious habit.
  • The overall number of people in danger rises to more than 2.3 million when including nearly 2,000,000 people deemed to be at low or moderate risk of addiction.

Pornography

No formal definition for ‘addiction to pornography’ currently exists but use of and access to it has increased rapidly via the Internet and iPhones. The results:

  1. Porn sites receive more regular traffic than Netflix, Amazon, & Twitter combined each month. (HuffPost).
  2. 35% of all internet downloads are porn-related. (WebRoot).
  3. At least 30% of all data transferred across the internet is porn-related. (HuffPost)
  4. Recorded child sexual exploitation (known as “child porn”) is one of the fastest-growing online businesses. (Internet Watch Foundation (IWF))
  5. 624,000+ child porn traders have been discovered online in the U.S. (Innocent Justice)
  6. Porn is a global, estimated $97 billion industry. (NBC News)  
  7. In 2018 alone, more than 5,517,000,000 hours of porn were consumed on the world’s largest porn site an increase of 20% in two years. (PH Analytics)
  8. Eleven pornography sites are among the world’s top 300 most popular Internet sites. The most popular such site, at number 18, outranks the likes of eBay, MSN, and Netflix. (SimilarWeb)

The National Centre on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) in the USA reported that 64% of young people, ages 13–24, actively seek out pornography weekly or more often.

Alcohol

The most recent NHS statistics show:

  • In England in 2018, there were 5,698 alcohol-specific deaths and an increase of 7% on 2008.
  • In 2018/19 there were 358,000 estimated hospital admissions where the main reason for admission was attributable to alcohol, which is up 6% on 2017/18.

Gaming

The World Health Organization now classifies gaming disorder, an addiction to playing videogames, as a real mental health condition having found 3 – 4% of gamers struggle with compulsive addiction issues.  With over 2 billion people gaming worldwide this could affect 60 million people.[1]

What does this mean?

Over 2,000 years ago we were warned that the world would increasingly seek and become focused on its own immediate pleasure and self-satisfaction, like it is today.

2 Timothy 3: 1 – 4– But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be…..lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.

Romans 1: 29– They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity.

Jude 8- In the same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority on celestial beings.

All around us we see the negative effect of people trying to satisfy themselves with physical experiences only to find the satisfaction does not last or the next ‘high’ becomes their only obsession.  Why is this happening today and how, so long ago, did the writer of Timothy know this would happen? 

What else does the Bible tell us?– The Future

What does that mean for you?– Good News


[1]Gamequitters

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