The Chaldean Diocese of Saint Thomas the Apostle on the Issue of Recreational Marijuana and Other Drugs in our Community
“Let me state this in the clearest way possible: The problem of drug use is not solved with drugs.”
-Pope Francis from a speech to participants in the 31st International Drug Enforcement Conference, Rome, 20 June 2014
The Chaldean Eparchy of Saint Thomas the Apostle joins the Church at large in condemning the use of ALL drugs outside of “strict, therapeutic grounds.”
We have now entered a new liturgical year where we reflect on the value of a good family in the themes of the Sunday Scripture readings, and yet, the recent vote for the legalization of recreational marijuana in Michigan will have detrimental impacts on our families and youth. Legalizing marijuana and other so-called “recreational drugs” has never curbed addiction rates, but rather, in places where recreational marijuana has been legalized, there have been spikes in emergency room visits, abuse by teens, more traffic deaths, more societal costs, more expulsions and dropouts, and an increase in the use of harder drugs like cocaine, heroin, and opioids.
The American Psychological Association, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the American Academy of Pediatrics have pointed out how the use of marijuana is linked to addictions, depression, anxiety, psychosis, damage to brain development, and lung problems. There is no question as to the social evils that will increase as marijuana usage is continued to be embraced as a neutral practice in society.
To our young people, especially, the normalization of recreational marijuana socially is unacceptable. Children and families will be damaged as a result. Using marijuana for adolescents often results in significant changes to brain structure and cognitive functioning compared to those who don’t use and you can experience up to an eight-point drop in IQ.
Beloved faithful, there have been one too many instances where we hear about a member of our community overdosing, and oftentimes dying. The clergy of the Eparchy are too often called by families for help with this very issue. There is no question as to the fact that drug use and abuse is an issue in the local Chaldean community of metro Detroit, whether it be with marijuana, cocaine, and/or opioids. We strongly encourage you parents to bring awareness to your children about the dangers of drugs and to not be in denial that many are struggling and should seek professional help, rather than be hidden away for fear of shame on the family name.
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, urges us to not just oppose all improper drug use, but to “recognize the need for serious prevention programs.” “To say no” to drugs, he said, “one has to say ‘yes’ to life, ‘yes’, to love, ‘yes’ to others, ‘yes’ to education, ‘yes’ to greater job opportunities.” We must ask ourselves honestly, why do I turn to drugs? What I am I trying to avoid or escape from?
If you or someone you know struggles with drug abuse, we are here for you to help you to “be sober-minded and watchful” (1Peter 5:8), and to honor your body which is “a temple of the Holy Spirit” (1Corinthians 6:19). Reach out to a specialist for help, to a friend or family member, to your parish priest. You have many who will listen to you.
May the holy family intercede on our behalf to achieve the peace and freedom that God intends for each and every one of us.
Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Saint Thomas the Apostle of USA
On December 6, 2018, marijuana for recreational use will become legalized in the State of Michigan. Although marijuana for recreational use will be legalized, it is still illegal under federal law and prohibited pursuant to church policy. This new state law will not change policies prohibiting the use or possession of marijuana on any property owned or managed by the Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Saint Thomas the Apostle of USA and by the Clergy, sub-deacons, nuns, altar servers, church employees, volunteers or representatives of the church on any Eparchy property or during off-site events or functions.
Any representatives who violate the Eparchy policy prohibiting the use or possession of illegal drugs on church premises, or functions will be subject to suspension and disciplinary action, which may include a permanent removal from duties.
 Catechism of the Catholic Church 2291