Mexico: government and church launch program for drug addicts

 The Diocese of La Paz has inaugurated Project KUNI, a dynamic program organized to offer care and rehabilitation to drug addicts. Present in the inauguration ceremony was the Apostolic Nuncio of Mexico, Archbishop Christopher Pierre and Bishop Miguel Angel Alba Diaz of La Paz, accompanied by several civil authorities.

Municipal President of La Paz, Rosa Delia Cota Montaño, said local authorities and the Church were collaborating in the project which will include a residential detox centre, psychotherapy and education units and a health education campaign in the community, partly based at the parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. She said the work would be"carried out with love, integrity, perseverance, and spirit of service."

Bishop Alba Diaz said: "Charity is only authentic when it is disinterested and is freely given, when it is not done with the desire to obtain other goals, when it is not at the service of worldly tactics or used as proselytism, to gain political or religious supporters. ...Love, as a pure and free gift, is the best testimony of God we can offer. We believe in Him and from this conviction we commit ourselves to the service of all, without discrimination of anyone because of their political or religious affiliation, and without trying to impose our faith on anyone in any manner," t

he Municipal President said: "We wish to place this project at the service of those who suffer from addiction and their families. We hope to collaborate, however we can, in contributing to the common good of society, of which we form a part. We hope to add our new effort on to the evident efforts being made by authorities and others who are working in this area, which counts on everyone's participation."

Lastly, the President called upon "the blessing of the Lord our God, that He may reward all those who have made this project a reality: authorities, priests, businessmen, psychologists, doctors, and lay apostles, and many others."

Both the Church and society in Mexico are worried about the rise of addiction in the country. José Angel Córdova Villalobos, of the Secretariate for Health, has observed the worrying increase in the number of addicts, especially among young people.

In the last six years, the number of addicts has gone up 50%, from 307,000 in 2002 to 465,000 in 2008, according to statistics from the National Addiction Study done by the Secretary for Health. As for the number of people who have taken drugs, there has been an increase of 28.9%, from 3.5 million in 2002 to 4.5 million in 2008, youth being understood as persons between 12-25 years of age, who are most vulnerable for consumption.

According to the Secretary for Health, the increase is mainly due to the fact that there is now a greater availability of drugs in the country and the prices are now lower, even free of charge in many cases. The Health Secretary has also observed that the wave of violence being seen in the country now is a response from the gangs caught up in drug-trafficking, to the Federal Government's fight against organized delinquency.

Source: Fides

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