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Pope Francis: no compromise on drug addiction

June 20, 2014

Pope Francis delivered a strong message to participants at the International Drug Enforcement Conference in Rome.

“The scourge of drug use continues to spread inexorably, fed by a deplorable commerce which transcends national and continental borders,” he said. “As a result, the lives of more and more young people and adolescents are in danger. Faced with this reality, I can only manifest my grief and concern.”

He added:

Let me state this in the clearest terms possible: the problem of drug use is not solved with drugs! Drug addiction is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise. To think that harm can be reduced by permitting drug addicts to use narcotics in no way resolves the problem. Attempts, however limited, to legalize so-called “recreational drugs”, are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce the desired effects. Substitute drugs are not an adequate therapy but rather a veiled means of surrendering to the phenomenon.

Here I would reaffirm what I have stated on another occasion: No to every type of drug use. It is as simple as that. No to any kind of drug use (cf. General Audience, 7 May 2014). But to say this “no”, one has to say “yes” to life, “yes” to love, “yes” to others, “yes” to education, “yes” to greater job opportunities. If we say “yes” to all these things, there will be no room for illicit drugs, for alcohol abuse, for other forms of addiction.

“The Church, in fidelity to Jesus’ command to go out to all those places where people suffer, thirst, hunger and are imprisoned, does not abandon those who have fallen into the trap of drug addiction, but goes out to meet them with creative love,” he added. “She takes them by the hand, thanks to the efforts of countless workers and volunteers, and helps them to rediscover their dignity and to revive those inner strengths, those personal talents, which drug use had buried but can never obliterate, since every man and woman is created in the image and likeness of God”


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  • Posted by: - Jun. 21, 2014 9:51 AM ET USA

    Compare drug use and same sex marriage. Ssm will soon be universally legal, but that will not stop the Church from evangelizing against it. Ssm will always be wrong, but Caesar will permit it. The one positive element is that it should lead to less violence against homosexuals. When the Church educates against ssm, it will not be aimed at increasing violence against homosexuals. Billions of $, 1000s of lives will be saved EVERY year thru legal drugs, & the Church will still tell the Truth.

  • Posted by: shrink - Jun. 20, 2014 1:33 PM ET USA

    It's interesting that Francis has made such a strong statement on the issue of drug abuse, especially since he has spoken extensively on the demonic. Gal 5:20 uses the term ?????????, a term that links the use of sorcery and drug use. It is also found connected with Paul's description of the lasciviousness, those given to complete sexual perversion. As I re-read Gal 5, and the particularly common sins, it would appear that we are really living in the middle of an aggressive pagan re-emergence