Tag Archives: Pope Francis

Excerpts from Pope Francis’ Talk: Call for Healing

“Everyone who is dependent on drugs has a personal story that needs healing and love.”

“We cannot fall into the injustice of classifying an addict as someone who is a broken object. Every person has to feel dignity to be healed. Dignity we have to reach. Important these people maintain dignity as children of God.

“Important to understand the problem of drugs is essentially a destructive factor. Networks that make it possible to die – not a physical death but psychological and social. There are powerful networks which catch people and there are people responsible for this inside governments. The only way to proceed is to go up from small scale peddling to sophisticated money laundering operations among banks which specialize in laundering dirty money.

“A judge in my country began to tackle this seriously. Very quickly he received a package in the mail with a photo of his family- it was a warning from mafia organizations. When you try to go up from roots of the problem you end up finding the Mafia. People enslaved to drugs are killed and also those who try and free people from this slavery are killed.

“Wide ranging social programs need to be integrated – especially education which is essential. Give people tools to discern reality and direct to the most vulnerable and families and those who suffer from marginalization. However the problem of prevention as a program has always been hindered by thousands of factors like incapabilities of government.

“Although prevention is the most important work, we must fully work to see rehabilitation and see people’s dignity restored. The most needy of our brothers and sisters carry with them a treasure of God which speaks to us and encourages us to move ahead.

“Combatting this is difficult and if you face up to these problems you run risk of things happening to you like what happened to the judge. But we are defending the human family, the young the children, and our future. Not something just looking at the present.”

Pope Francis spoke these words in small group sessions at the World Narcotics Summit held on November 24, in the Vatican.  Thank you, Kevin Sabet, for sharing his words.

Our contention is that education and prevention are most important.  It seems to be the view of Pope Francis.  We also agree that people who abuse drugs need healing and love for the wounds they carry.

Please follow and like us:

Pope Francis I Calls Worldwide Summit to Address Drugs

“Drugs are a wound in society and a trap for many people – victims who’ve lost their freedom.”   These were the words of Pope Francis at the conference on drugs held today, November 24, in Vatican City.

As Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, there are so many things to be thankful for in our world — the joy that is possible without drug use.  Although the US leads the world with 56% percent of the world’s illicit drug users, other nations are falling into the same trap.  Substance users and abusers try to find a shortcut to the spirituality that takes years to achieve.   It doesn’t work, as Pope Francis recognizes.

“Pope Francis is a global leader against drug abuse, said Kevin Sabet who will speak at the conference entitled “Workshop on Narcotics: Problems and Solutions of this Global Issue.”  Dr. Kevin Sabet is President of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM). The Pontifical Academies of Science has organized the conference.

“This event underscores both Pope Francis’ staunch support of protecting young people worldwide through preventing drug use and his strong opposition to the legalization of drugs,” Sabet continued.   “The Pope has stated numerous times, in very unambiguous terms, that drug legalization is not only bad for kids, but that it fails to produce its desired effects.”

popefrancisdrugconference
Queen Silvia of Sweden is seated next to Pope Francis, as he address a conference on drugs November 24 in the Vatican

Sabet will address the Pontifical Academy on the subject of “The Social Impact of Drug Policy Change.” He will discuss early findings from marijuana legalization in the U.S. and other issues related to drug policy change worldwide. Other U.S. representatives include Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Dr. Nora Volkow, Dr. Robert DuPont, Dr. Jon Caulkins, and Dr. Bertha Madras. The event examines, among other topics, the prevention of substance abuse related to children and young people. It also includes a papal audience, which Dr. Sabet will attend.

 Other attendees include H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden and Mr. Yuri Fedotov, head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Drugs give rise to powerful delusions, in a world which can be difficult and challenging.  Escape from reality doesn’t make problems go away, but merely creates new ones.   A followup post contains excerpts from the small group audience.   Please read here.

 

Please follow and like us:

Marijuana Puts Education, Kids Futures at Risk

Heather Mizeur naively campaigned for the governorship of Maryland by supporting universal pre-Kindergarten and paying for it by legalizing marijuana.  Her support came from NORML and the marijuana industry.

What good does earlier education do for child welfare when you introduce a whole set of new problems?

Look at what is going on in Colorado and Washington, and the unusual types of child endangerment that have gone on with legalization.   Many very young children have gotten into marijuana edibles which look like cookies and candy.

“Encouraging marijuana commercialism and consumption to fund and support education are two inconsistent goals,” explained Diane Carlson, a co-founder of Bravetracks, a non-profit devoted to encouraging youth activity, employment and engagement in Colorado.  “Even before Coloradans voted in 2012 to legalize marijuana, Denver, where marijuana was first commercialized, had some of the highest youth use rates in the nation,” she said.

“The THC content of marijuana is extremely potent with levels reaching 20% and above in Colorado, due to competition in the industry.  Highly potent pot has become incredibly commercialized here and yet our kids have been told it’s benign. Increased access and use is a huge issue for Colorado teens who have no idea how such highly potent products can impact their health and their futures,” according to Carlson.

Since legalization, the pot problem only seems to be getting worse. “Disturbingly, Colorado kids will suck on lollipops, chew on gummy bears, or munch on granola bars without anyone knowing highly potent marijuana is being consumed. They have ‘vaped’ on pens, asthma inhalers or highlighters loaded with a concentrated form of THC that can go undetected in class.”

One high-school teacher in Denver, who wishes to remain anonymous, exclaimed, “Our job is so difficult and there are so many challenges to educating kids well in the best circumstances.  She added, “So why did the state add this other layer of challenge to our jobs and make it harder for our students to achieve success?”

Marijuana Money

“Where Commerce Meets Revolution” is how the Marijuana Policy Project (MMP) describes the Cannabis Business Summit held yesterday and today in Denver.  This title leaves no doubt that the MMP and other pot advocacy groups are about the money.

Amendment 64 passed in Colorado despite warnings of the teachers’ union and a persuasive letter from teacher Christina Blair to the Huffington Post.  It is probably because big money paid for the win in Colorado, with most of that money coming from the industry’s out-of-state lobbying groups.

One year later, by December 2013,  school administrators and law enforcement noticed the changes that came into the schools.  Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has warned the governors of other states not to follow Colorado’s example.

Revolutionary ideas grab attention, but Heather Mizeur didn’t win her primary.  She only promoted an idea which was heard all over the nation’s capital region.

Most likely the children who heard Mizeur’s TV commercials about marijuana will end up believing marijuana is completely harmless and could indeed be tied to education.

The pot industry regularly promotes it as a way to fund education.   It is an ironic that they would suggest a solution that only makes a problem worse.

Beware that many local candidates and representatives in Congress are taking money from the marijuana industry.   We need to watch out for the fallout from this “green rush.”  It could be worse than the mess left by the mortgage industry.

Marijuana and Teens

With the push to legalize and expansion of medical marijuana, children and teens have gained an erroneous perception that pot is harmless, studies show.  Surveys of teens indicate use would definitely go up, if marijuana is legalized.

According to David G. Evans, executive director of the Drug Free Schools Coalition,  “Studies indicate that usage will increase to levels near between those of tobacco and alcohol users.”   The annual survey show that all teen marijuana use, and daily marijuana use, have consistently gone up over the last five years.  As a nation and for our individual children, we need to be concerned.

There is a connection to regular marijuana usage, gaps in college education and dropping out of high school, which often hinders future success.  “Chronic/heavy marijuana users are twice as likely to experience gaps in college enrollment as minimal users, ” according to  Dr. Robert DuPont, Director of the Institute for Behavior and Health,  in Rockville, MD.

Marijuana use in the young often creates a-motivational syndrome and apathy, in addition to and apart from the affects of addiction.  It is not a way of saying “yes to life, yes to love, yes to opportunity and yes to education,” as recommended by the Pope Francis in a recent address at the International Drug Enforcement Conference in Rome.

Dr. DuPont and Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University, wrote an article to suggest that changing policy necessitates a large, multi-year study using technology that has developed over the past 2 decades.  The study would aim to understand more about the effects of marijuana on the adolescent brain.  Researchers at Northwestern University recently published their studies indicating the changes on specific parts of the brain, and the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) has written about some of those findings.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry gives  a warning about  marijuana and young minds:  “Marijuana’s deleterious effects on adolescent brain development, cognition, and social functioning may have immediate and long-term implications, including increased risk of motor vehicle accidents, sexual victimization, academic failure, lasting decline in intelligence measures, psychopathology, addiction, and psychosocial and occupational impairment.”

 

Please follow and like us: