Today marks the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, with this year’s theme focusing on “Better knowledge for better care”.

The Holy Archdiocese of Australia has been working on the establishment of two drug detoxification centres across Melbourne and Sydney and already have made headway with the Morning Star – Spiritual, Therapeutic, Addiction Recovery Program, providing therapeutic and spiritual support to those who have gone through detoxification and face the possibility of relapse in Melbourne.

Archbishop Makarios of Australia has shared his gratitude for those involved.

“I take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to all those who provided their valuable support for this project and especially to Mr Nicholas Andronicus, a great benefactor of the Detoxification Centre that we are setting up in Melbourne as well as Father Angelo Aliferakis, who has taken responsibility for the corresponding Centre in Sydney,” Archbishop Makarios said.

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Archbishop Makarios also used today as an opportunity to reach out to those who have been affected by illicit drug abuse and urge them to receive on going help.

“To all those who are taking drugs, I make this request; Try to see the positive side of life and ask for help from the Church, or from any other relevant body, in order to be freed from this dependency.There is a return from the road of drugs. You can be free of them,” he said.

The Archbishop believes that strong family ties and role models in children’s lives are paramount to ensuring that future generations are not sucked into the world of substance abuse and are guided by their faith.

“I assure you that a young person who has discovered the truth in the Lord, is not going to look for false ‘paradises’. A young person who directs their steps to church and has Christ as their role model in life, is not going to turn to the deceptive worlds that drugs promise,” Archbishop Makarios said.

He concluded his address reminding followers of the Orthodox church that it is the community’s duty, by following the requirements of Christian teaching, to stand by the side of people who are experiencing the devastating effects of drug use.