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Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs

The Salvation Army encourages a healthy spiritual, emotional, mental, physical and social lifestyle without the recreational use of drugs, including alcohol and tobacco. 

Although social or recreational use of mind-altering or mood-changing drugs (both legal and illegal) does not inevitably lead to dependence, such use can have financial, relational, psychological, educational and legal consequences.  The Salvation Army believes that abstinence from these substances is the most effective way to set an example of personal responsibility for healthy living.

While The Salvation Army believes total abstinence is the only certain guarantee against the harmful effects of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, it does not condemn people who use these substances.  The Salvation Army continues to offer compassion to those whose use of such substances has become harmful; supporting them to regain social, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.

Biblical principles

The Salvation Army believes that human beings are created in the image of God and that therefore the body should be treated with respect  (1 Corinthians 3:16, NIV).  Accordingly, The Salvation Army promotes the welfare of the body, as well as the mind and spirit.  While certain lifestyle choices may be legally and socially acceptable, some choices may be neither helpful to the person concerned, nor to those likely to be influenced by their actions (1 Corinthians 8:9, NIV).

Alcohol

Although an occasional social drink does not inevitably lead to alcoholism, alcohol always impairs judgement and is a contributing factor in many personal and social tragedies. The Salvation Army will actively support legislation likely to reduce the availability and abuse of alcohol.

Recognising the dangers arising from the abuse of alcohol, soldiers and officers of The Salvation Army choose to abstain from consuming alcoholic drinks. 

Tobacco

The Salvation Army accepts the evidence presented by medical science of the harmful and addictive effects of tobacco on the smoker and those nearby.  Salvation Army premises are designated smoke-free.  Within available resources, smokers attending Salvation Army premises are offered active support to help them stop smoking.

Recognising these harmful effects, soldiers and officers of The Salvation Army choose to abstain from using tobacco in any form.  

Other Drugs

Although social or recreational use of other drugs (both legal and illegal) does not inevitably lead to dependence, such use impairs judgement and is a contributing factor in many personal and social tragedies.  Even prescription drugs can be harmful when misused.  The Salvation Army will actively support legislation restricting the availability and use of illegal drugs and the abuse of legal drugs.

Recognising the harmful consequences of drug abuse, soldiers and officers of The Salvation Army choose to abstain from using drugs, except as medically prescribed.

Approved by the General for use in the New Zealand, Fiji & Tonga Territory May 2015


Refer also to The Salvation Army's International Positional Statement on Alcohol in Society