The head of the United Nations drug and crime fighting agency today visited the Vatican, where in addition to an audience with Pope John Paul II he discussed possible collaboration in the prevention and treatment of drug abuse and illegal activities.
Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), thanked the Pope for his Message of Peace delivered on New Year’s Day, which stressed the importance of justice, the universal principle of UN work, and the contribution of the Catholic Church towards building peace.
Following his audience with the Pope, Mr. Costa met the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, for an exchange of views and prospective collaboration in the prevention and treatment of drug abuse and crime.
The UNODC chief presented the Office’s work in assisting UN Member States in facing the challenges of drug abuse, organized crime and terrorism. The discussion focused on the impact of drugs on the life of individuals and families.
“As anti-social behaviours undermine the fabric of the entire society, they can only be effectively addressed by the society as a whole, with the active involvement of families, schools and places of faith,” Mr. Costa said.
Their discussion also touched on possible cooperation between UNODC and Catholic charities around the world, as well as a need for strengthening cooperation in drug abuse prevention, especially in relation to the increase in HIV/AIDS cases caused by injecting drug abuse.