The Pontifical Academy of Sciences workshop entitled Narcotics: Problems and Solutions of this Global Issue
Following a special wish of Pope Francis, the Pontifical Academies of Sciences hosted a two-day Workshop on Narcotics: Problems and Solutions of this Global Issue on 23-24 November 2016 in Vatican City.
Leading professionals, scientists, experts, medical doctors, researchers, practitioners, members of civil society, judges and Academicians were invited by the PAS to examine and discuss possible innovative socio-political solutions to various drug-related issues.
Pope Francis’ message to a Vatican conference was „Drug addiction is a ‘new form of slavery’ and a ‘wound in our society’ which should be combated with education and rehabilitation.“
He said, “Integral human formation is the priority. It gives people the possibility to possess the instruments of discernment, with which they are able to discern various options and help others. This formation is principally oriented to the most vulnerable of a society, such as children and young people, but which is also usefully extended to families and those who suffer any type of marginalization.”
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”.
Prevention and rehabilitation, he repeated, are both important aspects of the problem of drug addiction.
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UNODC Executive Director, Mr. Yury Fedotov thanked the Pontifical Academies of Sciences for this initiative, and express his deep appreciation for the attention of His Holiness Pope Francis to the issue of drugs, and his messages on World Youth Day and other occasions bringing much needed attention to this problem.
Mr Fedotov also thanked her Majesty, Queen Silvia of Sweden for her dedicated efforts to prevent drug abuse around the world, and for the long-standing support for the work of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, including the launch of the Listen First prevention campaign in New York during the recent UN General Assembly Special Session on drugs (UNGASS).
He highlighted that the 2030 Agenda has also made clear with Sustainable Development Goals3 (3.5 Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol) and 16 that addressing drugs is necessary to ensure healthy lives, and to promote peaceful and inclusive societies, as part of overall efforts towards sustainable development.
„This year's UNODC World Drug Report focuses on the links between drugs and development, as well as with violence and corruption, and the social, economic and environmental costs of drugs.“
Full speech available here.