Sex, gambling and the internet: Vatican hosts addictions conference

A conference on addictions is taking place at the Vatican this week, with Vatican representatives joining forces with scientific experts.

The conference is entitled “Drugs and addictions, an obstacle to integral human development.”

Presentations will include best practices for treatment and prevention.

The Dicastery says almost five percent of the world’s population has, at some point, taken drugs.

“29.6 million of those users suffer from drug disorders. This means that their drug-taking is harmful to the point that they experience drug dependence and require treatment.”

The Dicastery says another cause for alarm is that society sees many drugs as a form of leisure, recreational activity and even as a sign of wealth and status. The implications of legalising various substances, including cannabis, is included in the conference agenda.

Professor Nicolò Pisanu, President of Pontifical Salesian University’s Institute of Psychopedagogical and Social Sciences and head of the “Progetto Uomo” [Human Project] of the Italian Federation of Therapeutic Communities, says there has recently been a change in the world of science when it comes to drugs.

This has seen the term “substances” change to “dependencies.”

Pisanu says the reason for this change is that the type of addictions themselves have changed, and that “with new dependencies such as gambling and the internet, you can’t speak about substances anymore.”

“They are phenomena that bring dependency” and, because of this, there has also been a change in the type of therapeutic treatments offered to addicts.

Pisanu says conference organisers chose “the most important, the most widespread, the most concerning” of the new addictions to be the focus of the conference.

These are gambling, sex, and the internet.

Speakers at the conference include Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, and Italian Health Minister Giulia Grillo.

Representatives from the World Federation against Drugs, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the Carabinieri, one of Italy’s police forces, are also presenting at the conference.

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News category: World.

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