Fight Against Drugs Requires Values of Love and Life, Says Holy See

Vatican Delegate Addresses a European Ministerial Conference

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DUBLIN, Ireland, OCT. 20, 2003 (Zenit.org).- In the struggle against drug addiction, it is indispensable to reinforce "the human values of love and life, the only values capable of giving meaning to human existence," says the Holy See.



Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, papal nuncio in Ireland, expressed that view at a conference to combat drug abuse in Europe. He headed the Vatican delegation to the Ministerial Conference sponsored by the Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe, held here Oct. 16-17.

The archbishop said the Holy See was concerned "by the constant increase in the use of synthetic drugs and by the ever decreasing age" of the consumer.

Quoting John Paul II, the Vatican diplomat recalled that "among the threats facing young people and all of society today, drug abuse is one of the greatest, since it is a danger that is as insidious as it is invisible, and one that is not yet properly recognized according to the extent of its seriousness."

This is why the Holy See does not agree with "the proposal to legalize the circulation and distribution of drugs, not even so-called light drugs," he said.

In this context, the archbishop continued, we "must not fail to take into account the risk of moving from the use of light drugs to the use of those with more destructive effects."

"If politics is at the service of the human person and society, it must not fail to go to the root of the problems," he said. He added that there "is no doubt that the phenomenon of drug abuse is connected with a crisis of civilization and with great dejection."

"One of the most important factors leading to drug abuse is the lack of clear motivation, the absence of values, the conviction that life is not worth living," Archbishop Lazzarotto stressed.

In face of this scourge, also expressed in criminal activity that "goes beyond national borders," the prelate emphasized the need for "a concerted policy of international cooperation" to combat the illicit traffic of drugs controlled by "powerful criminal organizations."

The archbishop also encouraged European governments to promote "preventive information" and education in every realm, as well as "the possibility of the proper treatment and reintegration into society of those who unfortunately fall prey to drug addiction."

"More resources should be destined to the application of preventive and educational measures in the family, in schools, in sports clubs, and in society in general," he said. "here is a need for placing renewed emphasis on the human values of love and life, the only values capable of giving meaning to human existence."

The archbishop also confirmed the importance that the Holy See attributes to the system of services offered by agencies, local institutions and educational groups, especially to help young people who are overcoming their drug addiction to avoid a relapse.

Archbishop Lazzarotto insisted that an adequate drugs policy "must also address the ethical questions involved, seeking to place the problem in a wider anthropological, ethical, social, political and economic context."

The Vatican representative reaffirmed the willingness of the Holy See and of the Catholic Church to cooperate "with their extensive networks and structures devoted to the education, assistance and rehabilitation of drug addicts -- to work with European institutions in combating this scourge."