• Drugs a 'new form of slavery', Pope Francis says

    From Allen Prunty@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Nov 28 03:21:34 2016
    Drug addiction is a contemporary form of slavery, Pope Francis lamented Thursday, emphasizing that a rehabilitation which restores victims' joy
    and dignity is much needed.

    Drugs are a wound in our society. A wound that traps many people in the networks. They are victims have lost their freedom to fall into slavery; slavery of a dependency we can call chemistry, the Pope said Nov. 24.

    Its certain, he said, that drugs consist of a new form of slavery, like
    many others that plague man today and society in general.

    Pope Francis spoke to participants in a Nov. 23-24 workshop organized by
    the Pontifical Academy for the Sciences titled Workshop on Narcotics:
    Problems and Solutions of this Global Issue.

    The two-day gathering focused on the history of drug use and the current
    global situation, the global impact of the drug trade, methods of
    prevention such as education, and the risks of medicinal and
    recreational drug use.

    Francis has spoken out against the drug trade frequently, naming it as a primary cause of greed and corruption contributing to the disintegration
    of society.

    In his speech to workshop participants, the Pope noted that there is no
    single cause that leads to drug use, but that the factors are many, and
    often involve the absence of family, social pressures, propaganda from traffickers, and the desire to have new experiences.

    Each person addicted to drugs brings with them a different personal
    history which must be heard, understood, loved and, as soon as possible,
    healed and purified, he said, cautioning attendees not to fall into the injustice of classifying the drug addict as if they were an object or a
    broken mess.

    The dignity of the person is what we have come to encounter, he said,
    noting that the high numbers of addicts isnt surprising given the wide
    range of opportunities available to achieve a superficial happiness.

    However, rather than bringing satisfaction, this ephemeral satisfaction
    in the end becomes a venom, corrodes, corrupts and kills, he said. The
    person is destroyed and, with them, everything around them.

    Pope Francis stressed the importance of knowing the full scope of the
    drug problem, which is essentially destructive, above all in terms of
    the vast production of drugs and the system of distribution.

    The cartel networks enable the death of a person, he said, noting that
    it is not necessarily physical death, but psychological death, social
    death in the discarding of a person.

    Distribution systems, even more than production, represent an important
    part of organized crime, Francis said, explaining that a key challenge
    is knowing how to find a way to monitor the different circuits of money laundering and corruption, because they are united.

    The only way to do this, he said, is to trace the line that runs from a small-scale drug market up to the most sophisticated forms of laundering
    that nest in financial capital and in the banks which are dedicated to
    the laundering of dirty money.

    Francis recalled the story of a judge he knew in Argentina who had
    several thousand kilometers of border territory under his jurisdiction.
    As soon as this judge began working seriously to eradicate the problem,
    he got a letter in the mail with a photo of his family saying nothing
    more than your son goes to this school, your wife does this.

    When you one begins to search and climb up through the distribution
    networks, one finds that word of five letters: mafia, the Pope said,
    because just as in the distribution the one who is a slave to drugs is
    killed, so too whoever wants to destroy this slavery is killed.

    In order to curb the demand for drugs, Pope Francis said strong efforts
    are needed, coupled by extensive programs aimed at promoting health,
    family support and education, which he said is fundamental.

    Integral human formation is the priority because it gives people the
    ability and means of knowing how to discern, so that when the moment
    comes, they can discard the different offers and help others.

    This type of formation is particularly important for the vulnerable in
    society, such as children and youth, he said, noting that its also
    valuable for families and others who suffer from various forms of marginalization.

    However, the Pope lamented that the problem of drug prevention as a
    program is always slowed down by a thousand and a factor of the
    ineptitude of governments: by a sector of the government here, there or

    Drug prevention programs are almost non-existent, he said, adding that
    once the problem of drugs has advanced and settled into society, its
    very difficult to overcome.

    Rehabilitation of the victims was also something brought up by the Pope,
    which he said is a priority in terms of restoring to the victims the joy
    and dignity they had lost. While it might not be assured by the state or
    its legislation, recovery will be difficult and the victims could be re-victimized, he said.

    Pope Francis closed his speech by encouraging attendees to continue
    their work and to realize, within your own possibilities, the happy
    initiatives you have undertaken in the service of those who suffer most
    in this field of war.

    The fight is difficult, he said, noting that whenever one gives face
    and begins to work seriously, they run the same risk as the judge from Argentina, of getting a little card with some insinuation.

    However, he stressed that despite the risks, we are defending the
    human family, defending the youth, children...Its not a matter of
    momentary discipline, its a thing that is projected forward.

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