Lost on a Drug Smuggler's Route

Long before cell phones and GPS for personal use, I once got lost on a hike in Northern Idaho’s Selkirk Mountains. After half a day of wandering beneath towering pines and tamaracks, my hiking buddy and I concluded that the narrow path we’d followed was an animal track and not the route we should have taken.

Struggling along the rugged terrain, we’d already seen enough bear scat to begin wondering if it was black bears or grizzlies. No one was going to find us in the dense forest—and there was no way to contact anyone anyway. All of my mountain climbing experience hadn’t prepared me for this.

Thankfully Sam (short for Samantha) had completed Army survival training. Her skill set didn’t include grizzlies, but what she knew would certainly help now.

The following morning we decided to climb a narrow ridge in an effort to get above the tree line. From that vantage we hoped to orient ourselves again. The shale rock was treacherous and sharp to the knees when we slipped, but we were able to spy what looked like a road—snaking its way through the forest far below.

We figured it was a government forest service access and if we followed it southward we’d find our way back. After a couple hours hiking through dense underbrush we reached the road. But when we didn’t spot any forest service markings, we knew we weren’t on a government road. Who lived out here? We kept walking.

We’d inadvertently found our way back to civilization by way of a Canadian-American drug cartel route. This was my introduction into the underworld of illegal drugs. Afterwards, the authorities stopped this pathway, but untold millions of dollars have traded hands on other smuggling routes. And how many drug-ruined lives?

America is losing her war on drugs. And now, thanks to prescription painkillers, addictions are on the rise—every day 46 people die overdosing on them. When addicts can’t get painkillers, heroin becomes an easy option.  Subsequently, heroin deaths have tripled in the last decade. When life is hard, drugs are an easy escape, but only to a deadly prison.

December is the season of hope—a time when we look to God for the true peace He provides. We can’t solve the drug problem without Him. America, maybe it's time to re-think our strategy on how we are living—and sadly, how some are dying.

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