The only way to do this, he said, is to trace the line that runs from a small-scale drug market up to "the most sophisticated forms of laundering that nest in financial capital and in the banks which are dedicated to the laundering of dirty money."
Francis recalled the story of a judge he knew in Argentina who had several thousand kilometers of border territory under his jurisdiction. As soon as this judge began working seriously to eradicate the problem, he got a letter in the mail with a photo of his family saying nothing more than "your son goes to this school, your wife does this."
When you one begins to search and climb up through the distribution networks, "one finds that word of five letters: mafia," the Pope said, because just as in the distribution the one who is a slave to drugs is killed, "so too whoever wants to destroy this slavery is killed."
In order to curb the demand for drugs, Pope Francis said strong efforts are needed, coupled by extensive programs aimed at promoting health, family support and education, which he said "is fundamental."
"Integral human formation is the priority" because it gives people the ability and means of knowing how to discern, so that when the moment comes, "they can discard the different offers and help others."
This type of formation is particularly important for the vulnerable in society, such as children and youth, he said, noting that it's also valuable for families and others who suffer from various forms of marginalization.
However, the Pope lamented that the problem of drug prevention as a program "is always slowed down by a thousand and a factor of the ineptitude of governments: by a sector of the government here, there or there."
Drug prevention programs "are almost non-existent," he said, adding that once the problem of drugs has advanced and settled into society, "it's very difficult" to overcome.
Rehabilitation of the victims was also something brought up by the Pope, which he said is a priority in terms of restoring to the victims the joy and dignity they had lost. While it might not be assured by the state or its legislation, "recovery will be difficult and the victims could be re-victimized," he said.
Pope Francis closed his speech by encouraging attendees to continue their work and "to realize, within your own possibilities, the happy initiatives you have undertaken in the service of those who suffer most in this field of war."
"The fight is difficult," he said, noting that whenever one "gives face" and begins to work seriously, they run the same risk as the judge from Argentina, of getting "a little card with some insinuation."
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However, he stressed that despite the risks, "we are defending the human family, defending the youth, children...It's not a matter of momentary discipline, it's a thing that is projected forward."