Vatican Opposes Drug-Injection Centers

Urges Therapeutic Communities for Addicts

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VATICAN CITY, MAR. 29, 2001 ( The Vatican says that state-supervised drug-injection rooms for addicts are «ethically unacceptable.»

Monsignor Dominique Rézeau, head of a Vatican delegation, addressed a U.N. meeting on drugs, which ended today in Vienna, Austria. He said that drug-injection rooms do not respect the dignity of the human person, and do not help addicts´ reintegration into society.

The monsignor noted that some officials favor the medically supervised injection rooms, because they think the rooms lead to less danger of an overdose, infection or transmission of disease.

Opponents, however, believe the rooms go against international treaties on drug control, as governments have committed themselves and are obliged to «combat drug trafficking in all its forms,» Monsignor Rézeau said.

Leaving aside the juridical controversy, he reminded his audience of an ethical principle: Allowing a drug addict to inject himself with illegal substances, even under medical supervision, goes against respect for human life.

«We can neither talk about a ´freedom of taking drugs´ nor about a ´right for drugs,´ because a human person has no right to damage himself and cannot and should not renounce his personal dignity bestowed upon him by God alone,» the monsignor said.

The Vatican aide said that the methods adopted by therapeutic communities are to be preferred.
Such communities seek both the social recovery of the addict, as well as the safety of society, he added.

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