AMERICA/ARGENTINA - "Let's break the silence that kills": live with dignity in working-class neighborhoods, fight against drug addiction and its consequences

Friday, 10 March 2023 social situation   drugs   local churches  

Rosario (Agenzia Fides) - "We are creating a para-state which does not change every four years and which, over time, consolidates its power and its financial structure, offering weapons, lawyers, protections and many other resources. Without a great social and political agreement, any talk of a solution to what is happening remains a mirage". This is affirmed by the Pastoral Care of popular neighborhoods and the Pastoral Care of Drug Addiction of the Archdiocese of Rosario, which denounces the abandonment of neighborhoods where the poor and the working middle class live. It lacks electric lighting, sanitation, cleanliness, public transport, roads and sidewalks. The people of Rosario are mostly good and supportive people, the statement points out, who want to progress in their work and build a better city. But today they are forced to emigrate not only out of the country, but also to nearby towns and villages, in search of a safer life".
However, the document expresses confidence in the political class, urging them to unite "to make our neighborhoods a place where everyone can live with dignity", to abandon violence in speeches and to eliminate from their ranks those who are accomplices of "a corruption that kills". "We know that it is possible to get out of the current situation, hope sustains us, we are all part of the solution", underlines the document, which calls for the establishment of support programs for children, adolescents and young people from vulnerable neighborhoods, to the creation of a support network that facilitates their participation in school education, vocational training and inclusion in the world of sport and arts. Every year, there is an institutional vacuum during the holiday period, when there are few alternatives, as well as during the weekends: "When the State is absent and the community is not supported in its inclusion initiatives, other protagonists end up taking their place, offering easy money, violence and death".
It is therefore noted in the document that it is also necessary to have a health system that is interested in addiction, to contain and support people who consume legal and illegal substances. "Drug use not only generates gunshot deaths, but also suicides, traffic accidents and work accidents. Family members also die due to the stress and anguish they experience. The lack of data on these events worsens the invisibility of the deep crisis we are going through. Are we ready to face the growing number of people who, because of addictions, find themselves in situations of motor, mental and cognitive disabilities?
The representatives of the pastoral care of popular neighborhoods and of the pastoral care of drug addiction of the Archdiocese of Rosario therefore call on the national, provincial and municipal legislative authorities to quickly create laws and ordinances which, "taking into account the experience of social and religious organizations that carry out community work in the neighborhoods, establish a regulatory framework of initiatives for various needs: residential communities for children and adolescents with drug use problems; residential care for people suffering from drug addiction; retirement homes for people with mental health problems; residential centers for women, with or without children, victims of gender-based violence and/or drug addiction; homeless shelters.
"It is necessary to get out of the hypocritical and non-critical silence", reiterates the document: silence of the State, which has not carried out prevention campaigns for 25 years; silence of the financial system, which does not take measures to prevent money laundering; silence from state observatories and universities, which do not produce data on consumption, addiction and the consequences they have on health and society; silence of the academic world that does not train future professionals on one of the city's main problems and does not generate critical awareness within its own community; silence from the judiciary, which does not strengthen its federal and provincial structures to investigate corrupt public and private power networks; "we are silent as a society when we don't talk as a family about what is happening to us, about use, about how to prevent drug abuse and underage drinking". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 10/3/2023)