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Pope speaks against liberalizing drug laws

July 25, 2013

Pope Francis spoke out clearly against the liberalization of drug laws, during a visit to a hospital in Rio de Janeiro specializing in care for alcoholics and drug addicts.

“A reduction in the spread and influence of drug addiction will not be achieved by a liberalization of drug use, as is currently being proposed in various parts of Latin America,” the Pope said on his visit to the Sao Francisco de Assis na Providencia de Deus hospital. The only real solution, he said, is “to confront the problems underlying the use of these drugs, by promoting greater justice, educating young people in the values that build up life in society, accompanying those in difficulty and giving them hope for the future.”

Society at large must show the courage and compassion to deal forthrightly with drug problems, the Pope said. “We must hold the hand of the one in need,” he said, and encourage him: “You can get up, you can stand up. It is difficult, but it is possible if you want to.”

Addressing the hospital’s patients, the Pope offered sympathy and encouragement. “Do not let yourselves be robbed of hope!” he said. He insisted that those suffering from chemical dependency must be treated with respect and helped to recognize their own dignity.

For drug dealers, on the other hand, the Pope had harsh words, referring to them as “dealers of death.”

The Pope’s trip to the hospital was quiet, easing the fears of security officials. Steady rain—actually turning into a steady sleet that is rare for Brazil—suppressed the crowds that had lined the streets of Rio to greet the Pope’s motorcade when he first arrived.


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  • Posted by: - Jul. 25, 2013 11:02 PM ET USA

    I love Pope Francis, but he's dead wrong here. The only reason we have a drug problem as bad as it is is because it's profitable. These criminals don't push drugs because they don't like kids, or because they just want to hurt people. The only reason they sell drugs is for the money. Take away the profit and the drugs will be kept in check, the same way alcohol is. I'll change my mind the day they bust someone for dealing shots of whiskey on a street corner.