Tide Now Favors Treatment

The report also testified on the impact for families stemming from drug use. When a child uses drugs, the rest of his family often suffers grief and stress, sometimes withdrawing from social contact. When parents are affected by drugs, children often suffer from neglect and abuse, which at times lead to death.

The committee declared its preference for a zero tolerance approach to drug policy. It criticized those who favor a harm-minimization policy that promotes treatment, but does not have as its aim enabling users to become drug-free.

The report also criticized the glamorization of drug use by the media that encourages people to experiment with so-called party drugs.

The committee was favorable to the policy followed by Sweden. The report explained that after a period of decriminalization of illicit drugs in the 1960s, Swedish policy reverted to criminalize all illicit drug use, and to provide treatment oriented at ending drug use.

As a result of this approach, the parliamentary committee observed, drug use in Swedish society has been dramatically reduced over recent decades and is now very low relative to the rest of the European Union and other industrialized countries

Human freedom

The Catholic episcopal conference in Argentina also recently addressed the drug question, in a declaration dated Nov. 9. In their statement titled "Drugs, the Synonym of Death," the bishops expressed their sorrow at suffering of many families whose children are harmed due to the use of drugs.

They referred to the condemnation of drug use by the Catechism of the Catholic Church. "The use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life," states No. 2291. "Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offense," the Catechism stipulates.

Drug use, and the resulting addiction, is dehumanizing, the Argentine prelates explained, because is nullifies the supreme gift of human freedom and leads to the destruction of a person's plans for the future.

The drug problem is much more than the use of certain substances, the statement continued. At its roots it is a question of culture, values and the options we choose in our lives. As well, often young people are tempted by drugs because they feel their lives lack meaning and happiness.

Along with educating people about the dangers of drugs and making treatment for addicts more widely available, the bishops also recommended promoting a culture of life, based on the dignity of the human person, called to be happy and to live free of slavery, including that of the false paradise of drugs.

They noted that Jesus, in John 10:10, said: "I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly." To those who suffer as a result of drugs we should bring them closer to the heart of Christ and teach them God's love, the statement urged. Liberation from drugs, not prolonging their use, is the best way to safeguard human dignity.


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