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Pope calls for help for those falling into the “slavery of drugs”

Pope-Audience-June-07-2023

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

I.Media - published on 08/29/23

Behind every addiction lie “concrete experiences, stories of loneliness, inequality, and exclusion" to which we must not be "indifferent," says Pope Francis.

Pope Francis is reiterating concern over the success of “new psychoactive drugs” among young people. He spoke out on the subject in a message in Italian sent to participants at the 60th International Congress of Forensic Toxicologists, taking place in Rome from August 27 to 31, 2023. He urges governments and officials to “bend down to lift up and bring back to new life those who fall into the slavery of drugs.”

The World Health Organization defines these drugs:

Psychoactive drugs are substances that, when taken in or administered into one’s system, affect mental processes, e.g. perception, consciousness, cognition or mood and emotions. Psychoactive drugs belong to a broader category of psychoactive substances that include also alcohol and nicotine.

Opioids, which cause an increasing proportion of drug overdose deaths — for example they accounted for 70.6% of all drug overdose deaths in 2019 in the USA — are on this list.

Young people drawn to drugs for novelty

In his lengthy letter, the Pontiff laments the current growth in the consumption of drugs and psychotropic substances, particularly among teenagers and young people, especially due to the sale of these substances “on the digital markets of the dark web.”

He explains this upsurge by the instability of young people who “compulsively seek out new experiences out of a need to measure themselves against new things, out of a desire to explore the unknown,” or who try to “silence the fear of feeling excluded” and see it as a way of “socializing with their peers.”

The Pope is particularly concerned about the emergence of “new psychoactive substances,” synthetic drugs made from “classic” drugs that are very difficult to detect, and which are now “booming.”

He also laments the wider use of doping substances in sports, a sign of a “culture of efficiency and productivity that does not allow for hesitation and failure.”

An obstacle to integral human development

For the Pontiff, the “need to always appear to live up to expectations, to show the outside world a powerful and successful self-image” is “an insurmountable obstacle to the pursuit of integral human development.”

Young people facing the anxieties of this world, seek in drugs the “vain hope of a daze that relieves the fatigue of being.”

Behind every addiction lie “concrete experiences, stories of loneliness, inequality, and exclusion” to which we must not be “indifferent,” says Pope Francis.

He urges us to “bend down to lift up and bring back to new life those who fall into the slavery of drugs.”

Tags:
AddictionPope Francis
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