There is a tragic story here of a tourist in Peru who died after taking hallucinogens in an ancient Amazonian 'cleansing ceremony'. 24-year-old Matthew Dawson-Clarke consumed ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic drink made from vines, as part of a seven-day retreat to foster a spiritual awakening. In May of this year, a Vatican exorcist warned (see here) of the consequences of playing the game known as "Charlie, Charlie," popular among young people on social media. Spanish priest Jose Antonio Fortea said the so-called Charlie Charlie Challenge, a game played on a simplified version of the Ouija board, poses a real danger as it involves the summoning of spirits.
The Greek word “pharmakia” literally means “drugs”, and appears five times in the New Testament: in Gal 5:20, Rev 9:21, 18:23, 21:8, and 22:15. “Pharmakia” is translated into our English Bible as either “witchcraft” or “sorceries”. We also get our English word “pharmacy” from the Greek word “pharmakia”. (See Strongs Concordance here.) In each of the above five passages, “pharmakia”, or “drugs” is listed as a work of the flesh of man as opposed to the Spirit of God working in us. Drugs are commonly used in pagan worship to hallucinate and to try to get in touch with the spirit world. This can be serious stuff - i.e., Rev. 21:8.
Scripture is replete with examples of good and bad angels active in our realms unseen (Daniel 10:1-21) in an invisible war (Ephesians 6:10-12). The Bible also reveals them as interacting with living people at different times.
1 Tim 4:1 warns of a proliferation of seducing spirits at the end of the age - "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons." The book of Revelation highlights the increased activity of malevolent spirit beings (the releasing of bound angels) preceding the return of Christ. The astonishing rapidity with which homosexuality is not only accepted but even positively affirmed, can only be explained by demonic activity.
Without question, the exponential increase in illegal drug use indicates a huge cultural shift. We live in a drug-filled culture with many people turning to it as a way of life. The Bible does not talk about drugs in the sense of our modern understanding with antibiotics and pain killers, so we cannot definitively say that drugs cause demonic possession. But drugs or more specifically the abuse of drugs where a person is enslaved to them and/or where they induce an altered state of consciousness can affect a person sufficiently to contribute to demonic oppression and/or possession.
There is the tragic story here of a mother, obsessed with occult, who killed her 2-year old baby. The mother was a known drug-user with a history of drug arrests.
Read the tragic story here of Dickie Sanders who committed suicide after 5 days of strange behavior upon ingesting a powerful hallucinogenic drug.
The suicide was the culmination of five days of strange behavior that began shortly after Sanders snorted a powdery substance he bought from a friend. Instead of the brief high he was seeking, he experienced days of insomnia, along with waves of terror and frightening delusions, including an incident where he “saw” 25 police cars outside his parents' kitchen window and then slit his own throat with a butcher knife. That incident landed Sanders in the hospital with stitches. For a few hours, the hallucinations subsided.
“I don't like the way this is making me feel," Sanders told his stepmother, Julie, as the two awaited his release from the hospital. "I promise I won't do anything again. I'm done.”
But the paranoia flared up with a vengeance that night, and back home, Dickie's father lay in bed with his son, arms wrapped around him, until he finally nodded off. It's unclear when Dickie woke up, made his way downstairs to his bedroom and found the rifle he had won in a shooting contest years before. No one heard the gunshot.
An autopsy revealed a powerful stimulant in his system: methylenedioxypyrovalerone, also known as MDPV, is a common ingredient in a street drug known as "bath salts." Sanders' death occurred the month after Mark Ryan, director of the Louisiana Poison Center, began to receive the first string of calls from emergency rooms around the state about patients taking the drug. For such a benign name, the symptoms were dangerous and bizarre. People were showing up just like Sanders had -- paranoid, agitated, violent and hallucinating.
“These guys were seeing things like monsters, demons and aliens, and those were consistent terms,” Ryan said. “We didn't ask, ‘Are you seeing monsters and aliens?' They were telling us that.”
Amidst our culture's drug-fueled insanity, the gospel alone offers true freedom in contrast to the temporary suppression often tendered via traditional secular treatment. Only the gospel has the inherent power to effectively combat demonic activity. All else is futile.