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Pope says drug addicts need Christ, not injecting rooms
    Pope John Paul II has said that drug addiction is caused by a 'cultural void', and it must be reversed by a 'culture of life' rather than measures of legalised tolerance.
    "Drugs are not combated with drugs," the Pope told members of the Italian Church shelter organisation Encounter in St Peter's Square on Friday.
    The Holy Father said that the Encounter Communities help those who have "fallen into the dead end of drugs" find the path of hope. This is the central issue of drugs, he said, and the "way of hope is through Christ."
    Drugs are frequently the "consequence of an interior void" that leads to despair, the Pope continued. "That is why drugs cannot be conquered with drugs; instead, extensive preventative action is necessary, which substitutes the culture of death with the culture of life."
    He explained that the Church "forcefully confirms this conviction in face of opinions that wish to liberalise narcotic substances or, at least, wish their partial legalisation, believing that free access to these substances contributes to limit or reduce the damage to persons and society."
    The Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care is completing a manual on the treatment of drug addiction.
   
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23-Oct-00