In this article, we present the results of our research, which aims to comprehend how the relationship between religion and the use of drugs operates in various contexts, but especially in the context of a prohibitionist paradigm. On the one hand, the story of human religious worship entails drug use, and on the other hand, religious groups form a set of important protagonists in the current “drug problem”, whether as moral agents or direct action activists (individual or community-based), and above all in close contact with the users. In one of these studies, we evaluated the public presence of Brazilian religions that use psychoactive substances ritually, and we verify that in the State’s regulatory process of this use, the presence of the scientific reference was a defining factor in the creation of public policies, and therefore, within the scope of civil rights for religious freedom. In another study, we evaluated the discourse of twenty religious leaders in the city of Natal, Rio Grande do Norte—Brazil about drug use. We perceived that they have, in general, three stances: pure and simple condemnation, with no corresponding action in the public sphere; the use of substances considered drugs, along with public actions focused on the effort to gain acceptance of this practice; and finally, “comprehensive” condemnation, with frequent public group action or rehabilitation centers. Scientific references, in this study, permeate the discourse as an authenticating force in the religious speech. Ultimately, this reality allows us to question how the academic discourse unfolds in the scope of religion, interfering in the quality and intensity of its actions with relation to drugs, and we conclude that academic posture, often underestimated with relation to the religious institutions, does not aid in the effort to confront the social problems linked to drug abuse. Therefore, an increased interaction between academia and these institutions can generate a new approach to this very serious social problem in Brazil.
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