RURAL FREEDOM AT A GLANCE
A Bit of Background
Here at Rural Freedom, we seek to provide tools and referral services to rural pastors, churches, and communities to help them minister more effectively to those with substance abuse issues. We seek to provide this help in several ways.
LIVING FREE & LIVING FREE COMMUNITY
Small Group Ministry
Living Free is a small group ministry designed to help those with substance abuse and other life controlling issues. Living Free is for use in single churches while Living Free Community includes all churches willing to help rid the community of the scourge of addiction. Rural Freedom will provide the training for these ongoing tools for local churches and communities.
Rural Pastors & Community Outreach
Typically rural pastors not only minister to their church but to the community as a whole -- a community with substance abusers who are looking for help. Rural Freedom will provide basic training for pastor to minister to those who have substance abuse issues. Our conviction is this training will encourage pastors to help those in need by giving them greater confidence in their ability to show others the grace of God to overcome their habits.
Extended Advice & Counsel
Rural Freedom will not only train ministers in how to work with substance abusers but will be available to give extended advice and counsel on how to work with especially tough cases.
TREATMENT AND RECOVERY SERVICES REFERRAL
Residential Treatment or Recovery Services
Rural Freedom will work with pastors and Living Free groups to find either residential treatment or recovery services for those they are helping if it is determined that they are not making sufficient progress in overcoming their substance abuse issues locally. Strong preference will be given to Christian based ministries whenever possible.
REASON FOR CONCERN & ACTION
Tragically there are seemingly unlimited statistics that show us how great the drug crisis is in America and in Rural America. Below are just a few of them.
27 million Americans reported using illicit drugs in the last month.
66 million Americans reported binge drinking in the last month. (Binge drinking is defined as a man having 5 drinks in a two hour period and a woman having 4 drinks in that same period.)
12.5 million people reported misusing pain pills last year.
$249 billion is lost due to the economic impact from the misuse of alcohol every year.
There is a general decline among teens in the perceived risk of Ecstasy, bath salts, crack and Vicodin.
A Rural Crisis
The rate of overdose deaths in Rural America have now overtaken the rate in cities.
In 1999 there were 4 per 100,000 overdose deaths in Rural America & 6.4 deaths per 100,000 in the cities of America.
In 2015 overdose deaths in Rural America quadrupled to 17 & deaths per 100,000 in the cities jumped to 16.2
Worse than Vietnam
In 2016 64,070 people died from drug overdoses. Of those, 15,466 died from heroin overdoses. Fentanyl is causing a lot of the deaths because some are using with heroin. It is a synthetic opioid and is many times more potent than heroin.
In the entirety of the Vietnam War we lost 58,200 soldiers. Now we are losing that many every year due to drug overdoses.
More Women Incarcerated Than Ever Before
The drug epidemic is taking a greater toll on women than ever before and that is causing them to be incarcerated at a greater rate than ever before.
In 1980 there were 13,258 in the nation’s correctional population.
In 2016 it had risen to 102,300! From 1970 to 2009 the female prison population increased from 5,600 to 110,000!
From 1980 to 2009 the number of drug arrests for women tripled. During that time it doubled for men.
4 out of 10 women arrested have children in the home.
These many disturbing facts and statistics should motivate us to do all that we can to help those caught in the deadly web of addiction.
Rural Freedom stands ready to help your church or community to reach out to those bound by drugs and alcohol through either the Living Free ministry or with our Substance Abuse 101
If you want to explore this possibility, please contact me at:
email@example.com or call me at 417-849-1160.
Let’s work together to stop this epidemic one community at a time!
ABOUT JACK SMART
Jack Smart served for 34 years in the Teen Challenge ministry, filling positions ranging from general staff to Executive Director at Teen Challenge International of Mid-America in Cape Girardeau, Missouri and then as President of Teen Challenge USA. Smart is currently a U.S. Missionary with the Assemblies of God. His passion is to equip local churches and communities to effectively reach out to those struggling with drug, alcohol, and
other types of life-controlling problems, using Living Free ministry and Substance Abuse 101 Training to achieve these goals.
Smart received his B. A. degree in Psychology from Arkansas State University in 1976, an M. A.
in Theology from Wheaton College in 1980, and a D. Min. from the Assemblies of God
Theological Seminary in 2008. He was ordained with the Assemblies of God in 1987. He has
been married to Beverly since 1976 and has three grown sons, Joshua, Joel (Summer), Jonathan
(Jessica), one grandson, Riley, and is expecting two more grandchildren in February and April of 2019.