Dr. Thomas Andrew, at age 60, is changing his profession from medical examiner to that of minister. As medical examiner for New Hampshire, he’s appalled by the mushrooming number of deaths from drug overdoses for which he’s had to perform autopsies.
He’s planning to enter the ministry as a chaplain under the United Methodist Church. After watching the drug toll mount, Dr. Andrew, in the words of a newspaper article, “wants to try, in his own small way, to stop it.” (The Seattle Times, “Opioid deaths are taking a toll on medical examiners’ offices,” October 8, 2017).
Maybe Dr. Andrew has hit on an answer too little tried in our horror at what can only be called a moral epidemic. We plead with young people and others to save themselves from drugs, to enter rehabilitation programs, to think about what the drugs are doing to them.
Maybe getting people off drugs is not merely to keep drugs from harming them. Perhaps it’s also because, if they destroy themselves, they deprive their communities of their gifts.
Their job is to find their purpose in life, to discover their particular talents and skills, to explore ways to serve. In other words, to understand that they don’t exist for themselves alone.