Drug Abusers Have Chosen Slavery, But They Still Have Dignity as Children of God

Silsilah Dialogue Movement follows the alarming situation of the many victims related to “DRUGS” in the Philippines and join the voice of Pope Francis. We present here the news published by the agency ZENIT on November 24, 2016 with this title “Drug Abusers Have Chosen Slavery, But They Still Have Dignity as Children of God.”

Pope Francis says that drug abusers have exchanged their freedom in order to become slaves of a dependency, but that this does not negate their dignity as people and children of God.

The Pope said this in the Casina Pio IV conference hall, when he received participants in a meeting organised by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, on the theme “Narcotics: problems and solutions of this global issue.”

“Drug abuse is a scourge in our society, which traps many people in its nets,” said the Holy Father in his address. “They are victims who have lost their freedom in exchange for this slavery, the slavery of a dependency that we might define as chemical. It is certainly a new form of slavery, like many others that plague man today, and society in general.”

The Holy Father reflected on the causes that lead people to drug dependency, saying that no single issue can be blamed, but that many factors intervene, “including the absence of family, social pressure, propaganda by traffickers, the desire for new experiences, and so on.”

“Each dependent person has his or her own distinct story, and must be listened to, understood and loved, and as far as possible, healed and purified,” he said. “We cannot give in to the injustice of classifying drug addicts as objects or broken. Every person must be valued and appreciated in his or her dignity, so as to be cured. The dignity of the person is what we have come to find. They continue to have, more than ever, dignity as people and children of God”.

“It is not surprising that so many people fall prey to drug dependency, because worldliness offers us a wide range of possibilities for achieving ephemeral happiness, which eventually becomes poison, which corrodes, corrupts and kills. The person is destroyed, along with all those around him. The initial desire for escape, seeking momentary happiness, becomes the devastation of the person as a whole, with repercussions at all social levels”.

The Pope said it is important to understand the scope of the drug problem, the “networks that enable the death of a person. […] Immense and powerful networks, that entrap responsible people in society, in government, in the family. We know that the system of distribution, rather than production, constitutes an important part of organised crime, but the challenge is to identify how to control the circuits of corruption and money laundering in its various forms. To do this, the only way is to trace the chain that leads from the small-scale drug trade to the most sophisticated forms of laundering, nesting in the financial capital and banks that are dedicated to the laundering of dirty money.”

The Pope affirmed that education is a key element in curbing the demand for drugs, along with “extensive social programmes oriented towards health [and] family support.”

The Pope emphasised that while prevention is a priority, “it is also fundamental to work for the full rehabilitation of victims in society, to restore their joy and to help them regain the dignity they have lost. Until this is guaranteed, also by the state and by legislative means, recovery will be difficult and victims risk becoming victims once again”.

We in Silsilah are giving a special attention to this problem and we are committed to support good efforts to help drug dependence “ victims ” convinced, as Pope Francis says of the priority of the “Holistic human formation ”.

Soon Silsilah will launch a program called “Silsilah School of Holistic Care” that also answers this specific issue of drug dependence (visit the Silsilah Website www.silsilahdialogue.com for more information.)

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