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Pope renews opposition to drug trade, warns against liberalizing laws

February 03, 2014

Pope Francis reiterated his opposition to drug trafficking, and weighed in against legalization of recreational drug use, during a meeting with Raymond Yans, the president of the Vienna-based International Narcotic Control Board (INCB).

After a brief meeting with the Pontiff following his regular general audience last week, Yan reported that the Holy Father had essentially repeated what he had said in Rio de Janeiro last July, arguing that “the scourge of drug trafficking, which promotes violence and disseminates suffering and death, requires an act of courage by the entire society. It is not with the liberalization of drugs, as is being discussed in various parts of Latin America, that one will be able to reduce the spread and influence of chemical dependency.”

During his visit to the Vatican, Yans also met with Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, Undersecretary for Relations with States, and with Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care. The talks focused on the commitment of both INCB and the Holy See to cooperate against the drug traffic.

In an interview in the Italian Bishops Conference’s daily Avvenire, Yans voiced his opposition to recent moves to liberalize drug laws in Uruguay and in American states of Colorado and Washington. He charged that “the decision to liberalize the sale of marijuana constitutes a breach of international solidarity and agreements subscribed by the 193 UN member nations.”

The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) is an independent, quasi-judicial control organ for the implementation and monitoring of supranational treaties on narcotics under the 1961 Convention on Drugs.


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