Dec. 30, 2021 – Especially when wellness is diminished, whether through disease, age or addiction, we come to see the importance of the gifts of life and health. As beings who God created, we recognize that our lives are entrusted to us by Him. And with this comes an obligation to care for our bodies. The virtuous life, which God calls us to cultivate through our attitudes and actions, requires us to practice temperance as a matter of justice, self-care and concern for others. As the Catechism defines temperance, it is the virtue that “disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco or medicine” (CCC 2290). Substance abuse is of particular concern because of its potentially serious effect upon individuals, families and society. Using drugs or using alcohol immoderately can inflict serious harm.

The choice to endanger oneself or others through the use of drugs or alcohol can be gravely sinful (CCC 2290). Participation in the production and trafficking of drugs is also immoral. The Catechism uses its strongest language to warn those engaged in distributing and selling drugs that their activities “constitute direct co-operation in evil, since they encourage people to practices gravely contrary to the moral law” (CCC 2291).