His Holiness Pope Francis encouraged greater coordination of anti-drug and anti-addiction policies through networks of solidarity and nearness to the victims affected by these pathologies.  The Pontiff was speaking to some 450 participants in the international conference in the Vatican on the theme, “Drugs and Addictions: an Obstacle to Integral Human Development”. The Nov. 29 to Dec.1 meeting that examined issues such as addictions to drugs, gambling, sex, pornography and trafficking, was sponsored by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

As reported by Vatican news, The Pontiff noted that that the “worrying phenomenon of drugs and old and new addictions” is derived from a “secularized cultural climate, marked by consumer capitalism, self-sufficiency, loss of values, existential emptiness, precariousness of ties and relationships.” Drug addiction, he said, is an open wound in our society, whose victims are ensnared into exchanging their freedom for slavery. He thus called for combatting the production, processing and distribution of drugs worldwide, and urged governments to courageously undertake the fight against those who “deal in death”.

His Holiness Pope Francis said “the Catholic Church is working with civil, national and international institutions and various educational agencies, to combat the spread of addictions through prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration projects in order restore dignity to those who have lost it.”