Pope Francis has spoken out against a trend in Latin America towards legalising drugs as a way of fighting addiction.
Speaking publicly for the first time on the issue, as he opened a clinic for drug addicts in Rio de Janeiro, he said education was the only way to tackle the problem
Thousands had stood in the pouring rain before hearing the pontiff warn “drugs hurt society because selfishness prevails”.
Earlier on the third day of his week-long visit to Brazil, Francis had celebrated his first Mass of his trip at the shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida.
In his sermon the 76-year-old urged the country’s youth to avoid the snares of modern life, such as idolising money and pleasure.
On Thursday the pope visits one of the poorest areas of Rio – preparations in Varginha favela have been underway for weeks.
The pontiff arrived at the papacy with a reputation for simplicity and humility built on his care for the poor of Buenos Aires while he was archbishop there.