By Jim Daly, President of Focus on the Family
Victor Torres understands drug addiction. By the time he was a teenager, he was addicted to heroin as a gang member on the streets of New York City.
He’s not alone. Self-medication is common in our culture. Whether it’s compulsive shopping, gambling, an unhealthy desire for sweets, sex, or drugs and alcohol, the number of people who seek an artificial escape from reality is staggering.
Millions of people in the United States are diagnosed with Substance Use Disorder each year. Only 10% receive treatment. Since 1999, nearly one million people have died from a drug overdose. Behind these numbers are individuals and families who have been ensnared by drugs.
Like Victor. By age 12, he was getting in trouble with the law and by age 14, he was involved with gangs and drugs, which lead to a seven-year addiction to heroin. He was on track to become another sad statistic when a pastor started a church in the neighborhood, and Victor’s mom began to attend. Eventually, she connected Victor with David Wilkerson (The Cross and the Switchblade/Teen Challenge), who led Victor to Christ at about the same time as Nicky Cruz.
Victor soon went on to Bible college where he met his wife-to-be, Carmen. Together, they founded New Life Outreach Church in Richmond, Virginia – which has 22 churches worldwide, including Brazil, Dominican Republic, Peru, and Africa – and New Life for Adults and Youth, a residential treatment program that helps men and women overcome drug-related problems.
You can hear Victor’s story on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Helping Your Loved One Find Freedom from Addiction.” He says addiction goes beyond the physical ensnarement. It’s a war for our soul as well.
He also believes that there is hope for every addict “no matter how dark, dire, or impossible the situation may seem at the moment.”
Discover the first steps toward hope and healing on your local radio station, online, on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, via Google Podcasts, or take us with you on our free phone app. Victor shares the red flags of addiction and the “dos and don’ts” of handling the problem.