The Sin of Drug Use?

The New Catechism states that drug use is a grave offense, and a cooperation in evil. Putting aside the violent sins that support this enterprise. What sins are committed by using illicit drugs, Drunkenness?:hypno:

Well, let’s take a look at exactly what the Catechism says and the context:

CCC 2291 The use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offense. Clandestine production of and trafficking in drugs are scandalous practices. They constitute direct co-operation in evil, since they encourage people to practices gravely contrary to the moral law.

This passage is in the Morality section of the Catechism under the Fifth Commandment: “Thou Shall Not Kill.”

As the above passage says, drug use “inflicts very grave damage on human health and life.” As human life is created in the image and likeness of God and thus possesse an inherent and inviolable dignity, engaging in acts that cause damage to that life is sinful.

By the use of drugs the Catechism no doubt means the abuse of drugs, not rational and morally legitimate drug use like taking Tylenol.

The ways in which drug abuse can be sinful are many. One, which the Catechism points out, is that in some cases it can be detrimental to one’s health. Another is that if the drugs are illegal the purchase, possesion, and/or use of them may be disobedience to a just law made by a legitimate authority. Still another (though the OP lays it aside as a separate issue) is that buying illegal drugs may support worse criminal activity, from gang violence to the Taliban.

Still another element of immorality, more basic though less talked about, is that it is a disordered seeking of pleasure. Pleasure is not bad in itself of course. Like all things that exist it is good in itself. But it is meant to be experienced in the context of rational acts. So we get pleasure from eating for example, but eating is itself a rational act consuming the fuel and nutrients needed for our bodies. Most drug abuse involves the seeking of pleasure outside of any such rational context, and this in itself constitutes a sin even if the drug abuse happens to be is legal and safe.

how about the sin of doing damage to yourself, robbing your spirit, stealing from the ability to be fully present to others…
i remember a young man, j, who spoke of being high when his father was dying, his family tried to wake him but he was not with it… several years clean he was very much present for his mom and grammy when they were dying… i’ll never forget the line that showed the power of recovery… he said: being present to & for them, i realized that my heart woke up in recovery!

Thanks for the expansion on this sin. I wonder if there are any differences in the seriousness of this sin; depending on the type of drug used. For example, smoking marijuana versus cocaine or heroin use. I have difficulty believing that some college students having a marijuana joint are committing a mortal sin. Whereas I could understand the use of cocaine or heroin being mortal. Since they 're more destructive of bodily functions and organs. :hmmm:

The use of illicit drugs violates the 5th commandment: Thou shalt not kill. Drugs kill the people who take them. Drugs kill innocent third parties who die because of the actions of people who are high. In the last year, I’ve been to more than 10 funerals of people, most of them young, who died from drugs. I’ve seen small children wailing beside their mother’s coffin. I’ve tried to console bereft parents. I’ve read about people who died because of the carelessness of someone else who was high on dope.

Drug abuse is a criminal offense. Therefore, it also violates the 4th commandment: Honor your father and mother. Included within this commandment is the requirement to respect all legitimate authority, including the civil government and its criminal statutes.

Finally, drug abuse is also a gateway to MANY other types of sin: sexual immorality, dishonesty, theft, deceitfulness, suicide, etc.

drug or alcohol use creates multiple problems - losing control of your situation,

job, family, depression, psychiatric issues.

if you involved in a peer group that does this, you might want to develop new

friends and move on

Cigarettes do damage to health and life,but some priests have told me its not a sin


A grave injustice is putting someone in jail for drug use.
Even graver when it is a teenager.
It is a public health problem, not a criminal problem.

I have yet to find any formal Catholic teaching on the morality or immorality of smoking.

Of course it was not an issue the Church had faced in the first millennium and a half of its existence, so there would not have been any development on the question during that important formative period. The moral question began as soon as smoking was introduced to the Old World (and of course to European colonies in the Americas), but from what I’ve seen the anti-smoking people for the first few centuries were mainly focused on their perception of the habit as vulgar and smelly. They therefore tended to be pinched, vulger little people themselves like Prohibitionists, and so they only encouraged smoking among heartier folk.

Many of us Catholics, at least in the English-speaking world, have grown up with or developed a positive view of smoking, or at least of pipe-smoking specifically, from early to mid-twentieth century sources such as the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. The view imparted by such literature is that smoking is vulgar only in the positive sense of the word: a wholesome thing for ordinary, common people to indulge in and which only the nastiest kinds of elitists could seriously object to.

While I sympathize with the general sentiment and worldview, I think the application to smoking may be in error. Smoking involves seeking pleasure entirely outside of a rational context such as nutrition, and so it is probably immoral on that account alone. Add what we now know about tobacco’s disastrously ruinous health effects and (though its a much lesser point than the other two) the government-induced high price of it which makes it an imprudent use of resources, and I think it has the makings of a very serious sin.

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