Legalization of drugs leaves addicts helpless, priests in Argentina warn

.- The team of priests that assists at the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires’s Emergency Shelters has expressed its concern over a ruling yesterday by the country’s Supreme Court. The court acquitted five people of illegal marijuana use, saying that private use of the drug is protected by the Argentinean Constitution.

While the priests acknowledged “the good intentions of those who do not want addicts to be criminalized,” they warned that in the case of the most vulnerable people, legalization means “leaving the addict helpless and ignoring his right to help.”

“The very dynamic of addiction often leads a user to do anything to satisfy the urge to use drugs,” the priests pointed out, saying that the State could see an increase in the number of crimes if addiction is condoned.

They went on to recall that the Gospel invites us to be present at the fringes of society and human existence, “to enter into communion with the poorest of the poor and from there to reach out to all.” “Many children, teens and young adults in our neighborhoods do not live, they just survive, and they often are offered drugs before a happy and healthy environment in which to play, a decent school, a place to learn a trade, a decent school. Thus the probabilities of giving positive meaning to their lives are cut short,” the priests said.

“We ask ourselves: How are the kids of our neighborhoods supposed to decipher the statement that the possession and use of drugs is legal? By not having a policy of education and prevention that is intense, repeated and operative, the chances of falling into the use of substances that harm the body are increased,” they warned.

The priests said their experience of working with young people who are overcoming addiction indicates that “many who began smoking small quantities of marijuana soon find themselves using even more harmful drugs.” “Life becomes unmanageable,” they said.

“For this reason, from our point of view, drugs do not liberate, they enslave. The legalization of drugs will only lead people to think they do not cause that much harm, the priests stated.

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