Argentinean Church says legalizing drugs ignores plight of addicts

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The Argentinean bishops' Ministry for Drug Addiction has called on lawmakers to not abandon addicts but reflect on the consequences of legalizing drugs for personal use.

On June 6, the Argentinean Congress began debating a measure that would legalize drugs nationwide.  Lawmakers from both the ruling party and the opposition have voiced support for the bill and said it is not intended to criminalize drug users but to instead focus efforts on drug trafficking.

The bishops' Ministry for Drug Addiction, however, said the bill would only make it easier to consume illegal substances. 

“Without a good health care system, without strong prevention policies, without a truly inclusive and efficient educational system, the only encounter with the State for an addict and his family seeking help will be justice,” the ministry said.

“Legalization in these conditions is to abandon the addict and ignore his right to health care.”

“We acknowledge the good intentions of those who do not want to criminalize addicts. It is crazy to criminalize an illness,” the ministry added. “But let’s try to put ourselves in the shoes of the families that are most vulnerable.”

Politicians should discourage drug use, not promote it, because “laws have a pedagogical role. What are we teaching by granting legal recognition to drugs?”

The ministry also said greater efforts must be made to combat the “mafia networks of the merchants of death. There should be no room for the drug trade.”

“We must always remember that the heart of the problem is man and his bonds. Man needs to find true meaning for his life and to be able to live it in dignity with the freedom of the children of God.”

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