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Pope Francis at his General Audience in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican yesterday (CNA/Daniel Ibanez)

Pope Francis described drug traffickers as criminals, murderers and “traffickers of death” during his general audience yesterday. Source: CNA.

“We cannot ignore the evil intentions and actions of drug dealers and traffickers. They are murderers!” Pope Francis said in St Peter’s Square.

“Drug traffickers are traffickers of death driven by the logic of power and money at any cost,” he added.

The Pope dedicated the entirety of his last Wednesday audience before taking a break for the summer to mark the World Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

The United Nations’ annual report on drug trafficking, released on June 26, reports that drug use worldwide has increased to 292 million people in the past decade, with cocaine production trafficking reaching an all-time high in 2022. 

The UN report also details the increase in overdose deaths due to the emergence of nitazenes – a group of synthetic opioids it describes as “potentially more dangerous than fentanyl”.

Pope Francis lamented the “plague” of drug addiction in many countries, saying that “drugs trample on human dignity.”

“Having known many tragic stories of drug addicts and their families, I am convinced that it is morally necessary to put an end to the production and trafficking of these dangerous substances,” he said.

The Pope underlined that “a reduction in drug addiction is not achieved by liberalising their consumption,” calling the idea “a fantasy”.

He also applauded efforts by Catholic ministries around the world who offer assistance and recovery programs to those struggling with addictions, as well as bishops’ conferences who have advocated “just legislation and policies”.

After his strong words about how drug traffickers “sow violence and death,” Pope Francis offered a prayer for their conversion.

“Let us pray for these criminals who give drugs to young people. They are criminals, they are murderers. We pray for their conversion,” Francis said.


Pope Francis: Drug cartels are ‘traffickers of death’ and ‘murderers’ (By Courtney Mares, CNA)


Pope at Audience: ‘Moral duty to stop production, trafficking of drugs’ (Vatican News)