Holy See: Addiction Not a Matter of Status

Says Drug Abuse Affects People of All Economic Levels

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NEW YORK, OCT. 9, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Drug abuse is a problem that affects people of every socioeconomic background equally, and strikes at the very fabric of society, says the Holy See.

Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See at the United Nations, said this Thursday when discussing international drug control before the Third Committee of the 64th session of the U.N. General Assembly.

The archbishop acknowledged a noted decline in global use and production of illicit drugs, but affirmed that «drug abuse continues to be an impediment to the abilities of individuals, communities and nations to achieve economic, political and social development.»

He also pointed that the Holy See is concerned about «growth in regions which previously had lower rates of drug abuse.»

«Drug abuse affects individuals of every socioeconomic status,» the Holy See representative affirmed. «From the poor rural farmer in a war torn zone to the well-to-do in a major metropolis, drug abuse serves as a source of financial, emotional and psychological escape with devastating effects on individuals and their families.»

Archbishop Migliore put the «overall health of the individual» at the center of the drug-control problem, and urged the international community to «protect the health and dignity of people by preventing the use of dangerous drugs and alleviating the suffering of drug dependent persons through treatment.»

The prelate also noted that in addition to addressing problems of individual abuse, it’s also necessary to confront the root problems concerning the production and consumption of illegal drugs.

The archbishop encouraged measures that would enhance «the capacity of Member States to counteract illicit drugs, crime and terrorism through field-based technical operation.»

He noted that poor and developing countries are particularly vulnerable to the ill effects of drug trafficking, and that programs must be supported that give farming families «real alternatives» to growing crops used to make illegal drugs such as the coca plant and the opium poppy.

«Greater efforts should be made to emphasize the causal relationship between increasing development and eradicating the illegal drug trade,» he added.

Family matters

«My delegation cannot emphasize enough the importance of the family as the cornerstone of demand reduction and treatment strategies,» Archbishop Migliore continued. «As the many causes and consequences of dependence on psychotropic substances are related to family dynamics, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, efforts should focus on family relationships in their biological, psychological, social, cultural and economic dimensions.»

«Illicit drug abuse can weaken the family,» he noted, «which is the very foundation of society, and thus seriously damage the social fabric of the community and even destabilize society.»

The Holy See representative also noted the link between the drug trade and «other human tragedies such as the trafficking of human beings, the proliferation of illicit small arms, organized crime, and terrorism.»

«These illustrate that substance abuse is not a victimless offense, but rather has a far reaching and devastating impact on the community,» he noted. «While certain individuals and groups may seem to profit through trafficking, the greatest victims are the poor and vulnerable.»

Archbishop Migliore concluded by emphasizing that drug abusers need «support and care from members of their family, the community, and society,» and praised recovered abusers as being «ambassadors of hope» for others.

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-27131?l=english

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