Holy See Calls for Support of Family to Prevent Drug Addiction

Addresses the United Nations

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NEW YORK, OCT. 15, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican called at the United Nations for policies that support the family, an indispensable instrument in the struggle against drugs.

“A great number of researches clearly demonstrate a link between strong family bonds and the prevention of drug abuse by children,” said Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See’s permanent observer at the United Nations.

Archbishop Migliore addressed a meeting Tuesday of the Committee on topic 109, “International Drug Control.”

“As the many causes and consequences of dependence on psychotropic substances are related to family dynamics, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, efforts should target family relationships in their biological, psychological, social, cultural and economic dimensions,” the papal representative said.

“Moreover, since the family forms the very basis of a society, illicit drug abuse can destroy the social fabric of a community and even destabilize a civil society,” he said.

“The family is usually the first to suffer from both the acute and the long-term consequences of substance-abusing members, a tragic situation which in most cases leads to the disequilibrium in the household relationship and finally to the breakdown of the family,” the archbishop continued.

“The family is the first environment where a child learns various habits. Nurturing parenting practices, such as involvement in their children’s daily activities and open communications within the family, contribute to healthy social behavior in childhood and adolescence,” he said.

“Often, the simple act of parents sharing a meal regularly with their children has proven effective in reducing the likelihood of experimentation with drugs,” the Holy See official said.

In preparation for the 2004 observance of the 10h anniversary of the International Year of the Family, the Vatican encouraged the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, as well as intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations, research and academic institutions, to work closely with the Social Policy Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs by “exploring and sharing experiences and findings that could strengthen the central role of the family in drug prevention.”

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