Catholic doctor claims injecting rooms would increase drug-related deaths
    A Catholic medical expert in Melbourne has claimed that scientific evidence supports the Vatican's decision to prevent the Sisters of Charity from establishing an injecting room in Sydney for the purpose of rehabilitating drug users.
    Writing in the fortnightly Archdiocesan journal Kairos, Dr Joe Santamaria said: "There is prima facie evidence to suggest that the rising death rate in injecting drug users is closely related to the wider availability of free needles and syringes."
    He pointed to the sharing of needles as a major cause of death through Hepatitis C. "Published scientific studies on needle and syringe exchange programs reveal that 30-40% of such drug users admit to sharing their equipment."
    Pope John Paul II has recently condemned illicit drugs as 'intrinsically evil' and 'against life', insisting that their use in rehabilitation programs should not be permitted.
    Describing intitatives such as the injecting rooms as 'heroin maintenance programs', Dr Santamaria said sanctions on the use of mind-altering jobs are an 'opportunity for an early diversion to treatment centres'.
    He said: "We should learn from our experience with alcohol that you do not maintain the use of the addictive substance if you wish the patient to make a full and fruitful recovery."