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Pope Speaks Out Against Drug Legalization in Latin America

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Pope Francis spoke out against legalizing drugs in Latin America, and called drug cartels “merchants of death,” Wednesday during his visit to Brazil. He made his remarks while inaugurating a drug rehabilitation clinic, according to USA Today.

The presidents of Guatemala and Uruguay and former president of Mexico Vincente Fox have suggested that drugs be legalized, the newspaper notes. Supporters of legalization say it would decrease demand for drug traffickers and reduce violence.

“A reduction in the spread and influence of drug addition will not be achieved by a liberalization of drug laws,” Pope Francis said. “Rather, it is necessary to confront the problems underlying the use of these drugs, by promoting greater justice, educating young people … accompanying those in difficulty and giving them hope for the future.”

The Los Angeles Times reports the Pope told a group of people being treated for addiction, “It is necessary to confront the problems underlying the use of these drugs, by promoting greater justice, educating young people in the values that build up life in society, accompanying those in difficulty and giving them hope for the future.”

2 Responses to this article

  1. Dave / July 25, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    The pope is right about what helps those of us who have had problems with addiction. But he’s a little off the point on the legalization issue. No one maintains that legalization will reduce addiction. What proponents do maintain is that it will reduce criminal and social problems associated with the human desire to get high. After prohibition, the alcohol industry flourished and so did alcoholism. What got better was the law enforcement issues associated with alcohol sale and use.

  2. Roget Lockard / July 26, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Perfectly put, Dave — balanced and respectful in tone, but succinct and cogent regarding the merits of the issue. I tend to get grumpy when the glaring contradictions of this commonplace rhetoric are seemingly inaccessible to the commentator — especially when it’s someone who, like the Pope, has a lot of influence, and in addition, like this particular Pope, shows great promise in many areas. Congratulations on your – may I say sober – summation of the issue.

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