Crack cocaine users represent 3% of the population of Brazil. The city of Rio estimates there are 6,000 crack users in the city alone.
On July 24, Pope Francis addressed a group of recovering drug addicts, family and hospital staff at the Hospital of St. Francis of Assisiin a working-class neighborhood of Rio, offering them a message of compassion and hope as well as a call to self-determination. He also inaugurated a new wing of the hospital especially dedicated to crack cocaine treatment.
In his speech, which he delivered in Porteguese, the pope stressed the necessity of personal will in recovery.
“To embrace someone is not enough. We must hold the hand of the one in need, of the one who has fallen into the darkness of dependency perhaps without even knowing how, and we must say to him or her: ‘You can get up, you can stand up. It is difficult, but it is possible if you want to.‘
The pope said that the answer to drug addiction was not a “liberalization of drug use, as is currently being proposed in various parts of Latin America,” but solutions to the “problems underlying the use of these drugs.” These solutions include “promoting greater justice, educating young people in the values that build up life in society, accompanying those in difficulty and giving them hope for the future.”
The pope praised the hospital, which is operated by the Fraternity of St. Francis of the Providence of God, as a place where the “parable of the good Samaritan is made tangible. Here there is no indifference, but concern. There is no apathy, but love.”
Source: Catholic News