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Image: Gregorio Borgia/AP/Press Association Image

Pope Francis comes clean on his drug use (but the answer isn't hugely surprising)

He sticks to his tea instead.
Jul 14th 2015, 8:22 AM 23,990 22

POPE FRANCIS HAS joked that he did not have to “take drugs” when questioned by a journalist as to the secret of his energy during a whirlwind tour of three Latin American countries.

The 78-year-old pontiff delivered about two dozen speeches and said several masses during a weeklong trip to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay.

“You would like to say that I take drugs,” he said, speaking from the plane flying him back to Rome from Asuncion, Paraguay’s capital.

“Mate is what helps me,” he said, referring to a traditional caffeine-infused beverage popular in the pope’s native land Argentina.

“I have never tried coca. That should be made clear,” he said, smilingly after Bolivian authorities said they did not exclude him when others were chewing coca leaves to deal with the altitude in La Paz, perched 3,600 metres above sea level.

Coca is native to western South America and is known throughout the world for its psychoactive alkaloid cocaine. Chewing the leaves or drinking coca tea does not produce the intense high people experience with cocaine.

The pope’s visit, his ninth trip abroad, has been notable for a number of historical pronouncements.

The pontiff decried the scourge of corruption as the “gangrene of a people,” railed against ideologies, called for an end to poverty and lamented today’s consumerist society.

- © AFP, 2015

Read: Pope Francis nipped into Burger King to get changed before mass today >

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