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Danny Palacios: How God Changed a Dope Fiend

CBN.com Danny Palacios was only eight years old when he started delivering heroin for his drug dealing uncle.

"I didn’t know what it was. The only thing I knew was that he would buy me the best bike in the neighborhood, 'cause that’s what I used to go around to the different places that I needed to take it to," Danny tells The 700 Club. "I didn’t know it was heroin. I kind of figured it was drugs. It was something I shouldn’t have been doing 'cause it was something he didn’t want anyone else to find out that I was doing it."

By the time he was a teenager, Danny had exchanged heroin delivery for heroin addiction.

"Once I got addicted about the age of 19, I got strung out and I just lost it all. That replaced my first love which was baseball. I was doing burglaries, shoplifting, doing stuff that was going to give me an issue of drugs or give me an amount of money that I was going to be able buy my drugs. When that ran out, I did it again."

He tried to quit using, but was powerless to stop. He says, "It’s pretty hard to be a functional heroin addict. The behavior and what caused it for me to do the crime never changed. That was using heroin: slamming cocaine together, speedballs, and then smoking rock, using in the morning, smoking rock all day long and then using heroin at night to calm back down and then wake up the next morning and do it again."

Danny’s drug use and criminal lifestyle landed him in prison. He was considered a security threat due to a neighborhood gang affiliation and was placed in solitary confinement.

"There was a bunch in there from the same neighborhood. There were over 20 of us in one yard. They started locking down anybody that had any association with any prison affiliation."

In a solitary cell, near Danny’s an inmate managed to hang himself. For the first time in a long time, Danny thought about his future and his heroin addiction.

"I hit that point in my life where I actually had it in my hand in my prison cell and said, ‘Man, I hate this stuff. This is what caused all this.’ For the first time seeing what it did to my family, it killed us all. I asked myself, 'Is this it? Is this what I want?' And I said no…"

Around that time he received a magazine from another inmate that sparked his attention. He recalls, "Inside the magazine there was Christian literature that he forgot he left in there. When I read it, my first inkling was to make fun of him. Seeking the Lord and reading the Bible is weak."

His curiousity about what he read grew. Danny requested a Bible from the prison library, but it was a King James version and he couldn’t understand it.  In his frustration he called out to God.

"I said, 'If You’re real, show me, because I’m sick of this life. I don’t want to live like this no more.' At that point, I already spent 11 or 12 years in prison. I believe that’s when God started working."

A package arrived for him with no return address. It contained a modern translation of the Bible.

"I believe that God answered my prayers, sending me a translation that I could start understanding. I devoured it. I started feeling his peace, and I couldn’t get enough of it."

In the quiet of his prison cell, Danny prayed and asked Jesus to forgive his sins and come into his life.

"I know He’s in my life. I know He’s got my back. I know I ain't got no worries. I’m sold out in this. I’m sold out like I used to be sold out to shooting dope and committing crime. I love this. I don’t have to worry about a cop coming and arrest me. I don’t have to worry about where I’m going to make my next money for my next fix. I don’t need to worry about who I’m going to go rob. I’m living this life that I never. It has given me peace and filled me with joy."

In 2007, after 15 years in prison with five years spent in solitary confinement, Danny was released. Today he is an assistant pastor with Church on the Street in Phoenix, Arizona, giving hope to ex-cons and drug addicts.

"There is hope, and that hope is in Christ, I tell them, especially those that knew me before and they see me now. I say look, 'We’ve tried a lot of different things, gone cold turkey, got locked up, promise our children, promise our spouses, promise our families, nothing worked. But when I gave my life over to the Lord, trusted Him and started feeling that peace, I knew. I knew there was something there. I knew that God was in my life helping me. God can change a hardcore dope fiend convict like me and turn my heart around. We can change our thinking. We can change our habit, but nothing can change our hearts but God. I believe He can change anybody 'cause He changed me."

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