Caritas wages war on substance abuse

Caritas wages war on substance abuse

2010-04-13 16:19:15
HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam (UCAN) -- Caritas workers said a recent workshop on substance abuse and computer-game addiction was useful in helping them tackle these problems in their areas. “I will share about the ill effects of substance abuse and computer games to Church workers and Catholics from parishes at retreats,” said Father Anthony Trinh Dinh Thieu from northern Thanh Hoa diocese. The priest was one of 130 Caritas workers from 19 dioceses who attended the April 6-9 workshop organized by Caritas Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh city. Father Thieu, 41, noted that many local men who work in areas bordering Laos suffer from HIV through drug abuse and they transmit the disease to their wives. Others who are addicted to alcohol often beat their wife and children, he added. In addition, many teenagers play truant, steal and even kill to get money for computer games. Father Antoine Nguyen Ngoc Son, secretary general of Caritas Vietnam, told UCA News the workshop aims to raise awareness of these issues, including pornography addiction, among Caritas workers so they can tackle these problems in their dioceses.

200,000 drug abusers in country

Citing statistics, Father Son said the country has 200,000 drug abusers and as many as 23.3 million Internet users who play online computer games or who access pornography websites. Many get addicted, he added. The priest said the country also has 300,000 people living with HIV/AIDS that is spread through the use of needles by drug abusers, and by sex workers. Six doctors and three Religious gave talks during the workshop. Participants also learnt about medical treatments, and psychological and spiritual healing methods. Benedictine Father Francis Xavier Tran Van An from Hue archdiocese said he appreciated the useful information on drug rehabilitation. Father An, 40, a former drug abuser who was sent to prison two times for theft, said his congregation plans to establish a spiritual healing center for drug abusers and drug dealers in his home city, Vinh, in northern Vietnam. “Many drug dealers who have been released from prison seek advice from me,” he said. “I also provide retreats for them and hear their confessions.” Father Son said his organization plans to conduct nine other workshops on substance abuse prevention, reproductive health, sex education and life skills. This year, Caritas also plans to build four centers for people addicted to drugs, smoking, alcohol and computer games, as well as for people with physical and mental disabilities. VT09405.1597 April 13, 2010 48 EM-lines (402 words) Newly formed Caritas branch vows to fight HIV/AIDS Caritas workers learn disaster-management skills Caritas rushes aid to typhoon victims facing famine
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