S eventh-day Adventists in Brazil are helping drug addicts rebuild their world, one life at a time. Surveys carried out in August last year in the country polling approximately 17 thousand people in more than 300 municipalities reveal that 4.9 million Brazilians have used some illicit drug in the last 12 months. The percentage is even higher among young adults in the ages of 18 to 24. Marijuana was the most consumed illicit drug in Brazil, followed by cocaine. Between 12 and 65 years old, 1.4 million people claimed to have used crack at some time in their lives.
In Cachoeirinha, inland Bahia, 120 kilometers from Salvador, you will find the Therapeutic Community Pro-Life. The project, run by ADRA Brasil, has offered help to drug addicts for 14 years. The treatment focuses on the use of nature's 8 remedies, a mainstay of the Seventh-day Adventist health message. The program merges labor therapy (also known as work therapy) with psychological/psychiatric care, and has helped dozens of young people to overcome chemical dependency.
“All the people who arrive here are broken, at rock bottom. They lose self-esteem, lose families and any vestige of hope,” said Vashti Reiner, coordinator of the Pro-Life Project.
João Alfredo is an example of this. When he arrived in the community for the second time, his life was completely destroyed. After completing the treatment for the first time, he found old friendships and returned to the old ways. His brothers gave up on him, and his mother suffered without knowing what to do. Alfredo really wanted to change, but felt trapped in addiction.
Alfredo believes it was God who guided him to the ADRA program. Instead of seeking out drugs, one day he summoned up the strength to find \a rehabilitation center, and he returned to Pro-Vida. Six months later, Alfredo was indeed a changed man.
Today he has a degree in finance, is married, has a daughter approaching her third birthday, and works in an elementary school as an accountant. “Everything I am and have today was only possible because one day I met people who helped me to fix my life. I was broken, to pieces, and God used them to rebuild me into a better version of myself. I am grateful to God that ADRA exists,” he said with emotion.