Pope calls for gathering to find ways to end, prevent drug abuse

IMAGE: CNS photo/Ghulamullah Habibi, EPA

By Carol Glatz

CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis has requested a special study session at the Vatican
to look at how to solve the growing problem of drug abuse, especially narcotics.

experts from around the world are being invited “to examine and discuss
possible innovative socio-political solutions” to drug use, abuse and
prevention, a papal academy said.

a special wish of Pope Francis, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences is organizing
a two-day workshop” Nov. 23-24 on the global problem of and solutions to
the abuse of narcotics, according to the academy’s website, www.casinapioiv.va.
Narcotics or opiates include heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine and

program will look at the history of drug use; how drugs are being produced,
distributed and consumed; and preventing substance abuse, especially in
children and young people, the website said.

are one of the scourges of our globalized world, despite the enormous resources
employed all over the world to fight drug trafficking and production,” it

workshop will look at the “relatively easy production of drugs in cities,
slums and the countryside;” ways to fight the conditions fostering drug
use; children being exploited by crime networks involved in the narcotics
trade; and the effect legalizing “soft” or recreational drugs has had
on communities.  

will also focus on scientific aspects, such as the effects of hard and soft
drugs on the human body and brain “as well as the potential medical uses
of certain drugs for specific diseases and disorders.”

professionals, scientists, experts, medical doctors, researchers,
practitioners, members of civil society, judges” and members of the
pontifical academy are being invited to attend the workshop, it said.

speaking to the U.N. General Assembly in 2015, Pope Francis said the narcotics
trade was waging a new kind of war on society, calling it “a war which is
taken for granted and poorly fought” in part because of corruption on
multiple levels. “Drug trafficking is, by its very nature, accompanied by
trafficking in persons, money laundering, the arms trade, child exploitation
and other forms of corruption,” he said.

meeting drug enforcement personnel in 2014, he also condemned the legalization
of recreational drugs, saying such measures were “not only highly
questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce the
desired effects.”

to every type of drug use. It is as simple as that,” he said.

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.”

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