Vatican diplomat: anti-drug policies should focus on family

Archbishop Francis Chullikatt Credit UNPhoto Eskinder Debebe CNA US Catholic News 3 6 12 Archbishop Francis Chullikatt. | UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.

Policies to fight drug abuse should reflect the dignity of the human person and build up the family as vital for both prevention and treatment efforts, said a representative of the Holy See.

"Protecting the dignity of all people, especially the youth who represent our future, requires the concerted effort of all in society," Archbishop Francis Chullikatt said in a statement on behalf of the Holy See.

The archbishop, who serves as the permanent observer of the Holy See to the Organization of American States, spoke at the 43rd regular session of the organization's General Assembly, held in Guatemala June 4-6.

The theme of the gathering was "Towards a Comprehensive Anti-Drug Policy in the Americas."

In his statement, Archbishop Chullikatt stressed the importance of the family for society, as well as the need to keep both the individual and the family at the center of drug abuse policies.

"The family constitutes the very basis of society," he said. "When illicit drug abuse destroys the social fabric of families, it inevitably leads to the destabilization of broader society."

"It should thus be a necessity that policy makers maintain focus on the family as the cornerstone of prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, reintegration, and health strategies so as to provide the only truly holistic and human-centered response to drug abuse."

The archbishop explained that an adequate response to drug problems and the violent crime that surrounds them "requires not only policies which hold perpetrators responsible but also courses of action which place the individual at the center of policies."

Ultimately, he said, the "chain of enslavement" to drugs can only be broken by individuals who are empowered to make the right choices.

In the continued battle against drugs, the Holy See is firmly committed to "educating consciences" and "alleviating suffering afflicting those who are affected by drug abuse," he pledged.

Archbishop Chullikatt voiced the Holy See's hope that individuals, families and communities will have the opportunity to leave behind the false promises of drug use and rebuild their lives.

"Addressing the international impact of these problems requires recommitting ourselves in the first place to the recognition of the inherent dignity and worth of every person, without exception," he said.

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