America’s drug crisis: Christians in music, ministry share how drug abuse affected their lives

Ty Brasel
Ty Brasel fromer drug addict, drug dealer now redeemed emcee, photo taken 2018 |

Ty Brasel

Four Against Five's newest hip-hop artist, Ty Brasel, has his own testimony of overcoming drug addiction and drug dealing after being influenced by music, movies and bad company.

“When I was a freshman in high school I started to realize my friends around me were starting to smoke weed. At the time I thought it was such a bad thing, but it only took a couple of my friends to convince me to try it,” Brasel told CP.

He thought he could try it once or twice with no effect, but he soon started using marijuana just about every day after his freshmen year in high school, and it became his main focus in life.

“By the end of 10th grade I wasn’t getting as high anymore off weed and my friends had already started doing pills. So once again, I was convinced just to ‘try them.’ Once I tried them, once again I was numbed to my own convictions and the social disapproval,” Brasel admitted.

Although he was hooked on drugs, Brasel managed to keep it all hidden from his family, and recalled living a double life as an honor student and athlete.

“Throughout the rest of my high school experience I was smoking every day, drinking, and doing Xanax weekly, as well as occasionally taking percocets, ecstasy, and drinking promethazine,” the emcee confessed.

“By the end of 11th grade, I was selling drugs while still living this double life. Some of my friends had already graduated to cocaine and heroin and meth. But I always told myself I would never go there because I always saw those as the drugs that could kill you, not realizing everything I was already doing was dangerous as well. I was deceiving myself,” he said.

Brasel went to church as a child but wouldn't surrender his life to God until there was literally nowhere he could run to. By his freshman year of college he had already been rapping and his life had led him down a path where he had been arrested four times. It took sitting in a jail cell for his life to finally change.

“It took being arrested four times during my freshmen year before God completely broke me down and showed me that I was on a path that would end with me wasting my life and purpose,” he declared. “I cried out to God that final time in jail and told him that I wanted to use my gifts and talent for His glory. I wanted to leave this lifestyle. I don’t want to spend my life in a cell or a box.”

In hindsight, Brasel sees the effects drugs and shared some behaviors people can look for. 

“I think drugs either make you lazy or super hyper, depending on your drug choice. But it always causes secondary effects of laziness and disengagement from life and school and work. Also, I think depression and anxiety are usually a long-term result of constant drug use,” he said. “I would say impulse eating or deferring responsibility for excessive stints with entertainment can be a sign for sure [too].”

The accomplish hip-hop artist especially wants others to be mindful of the company they keep because it was his friends who led him down a dark path that submitted his life to.

“I think the people you surround yourself with are crucial to the direction your life will head in. Though sometimes, people get started and influenced together. Sometimes you will be around a good crowd, but you all get influenced together toward trying drugs,” Brasel added.

“In my case, carnal and worldly music and movies, I feel, really desensitized me and opened my mind to the idea of drugs, and just a sinful lifestyle as a whole as being normal and good,” he said. “I would say, be very careful about what you allow inside of you because that’s what is going to manifest out of you. In the same way that food goes in and comes out, whatever we allow into our mind and spirit will come out in our thoughts and actions.”

Brasel says he now has more compassion for others in their struggles. He’s found that he's able to be compassionate toward drug addicts and users because he knows how easy it is to get involved and how difficult it is to get away from them. The Tennessee native also said he understands, firsthand, the damage that drug addiction causes to a person’s mental, spiritual and physical health, as well as their family. 

“One of my closest friends has been to rehab multiple times for opioid use, and is still working through it. It has caused a lot of hardship in his family as well as knowing the problems my own drug use caused myself and my family. I desire to see people heal and live life the way God intended them to: free,” he insisted.

The entertainer said he wants the church to continue to exercise compassion, patience, and understanding toward addicts. He also hopes Christians help people in rehabilitation and share the Gospel because, he says, only Christ can grant true freedom.

As a nation, Brasel said he hopes America would one day cease the “commercialization of sin and the desensitization of it.”

“I think the biggest thing we can do at the moment is continue to stand against the kingdom of darkness. Continue to speak truth in the midst of the darkness.” Brasel added. “Musicians, artists, actors, directors, journalists, doctors, everyone must continue to oppose the normalization of sin by using wisdom and the words of truth to speak wisdom and logic to their industry and sphere of influence.”

He is now using his voice to encourage a generation out of confusion and into purpose in God. In his seven-year career, he has generated a large following, and recently surpassed 10 million global streams.

“I have been very blessed to see the power of redemption work in my life. I have received hundreds of messages over the years from people telling me how my music has impacted them and been a key piece to their journey with God or their journey to freedom from drugs — being that I’m so open about my past in my music and the hope I’ve found,” he ended.

For more information on Brasel, click here.

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