Brazilian Addicts Forced Into Treatment

By McCarton Ackerman 01/14/13

Crack cocaine addicts in Sao Paolo will face mandatory drug treatment under a new law.

Brazil has the world's biggest crack market.
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Crack cocaine addicts in Sao Paolo, Brazil, will soon face mandatory drug treatment under a new law. Officials are gearing up for a potentially violent battle as they prepare to deploy social service workers to identify drug users at "advanced stages of addiction" and at risk of death. A similar policy already exists in Rio de Janeiro for minors living on the streets. "These are extreme cases, and we cannot just let people die," said Eloisa de Sousa, Sao Paulo's justice secretary. The city attempted to curb its crack cocaine problem last year by removing crack addicts from a district known as "Cracolandia," but hundreds of drug addicts still roam the streets. Brazil now leads the world with the biggest market for crack cocaine with more than million users, according to a recent study. In 2011, the government launched a multi-million dollar program to tackle the epidemic, but only half of country's 26 states have started their own programs under the federal plan. Congress is also expected to vote on a bill in the coming months that would increase penalties for drug-trafficking and mandate forced treatment for crack addicts across the country.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.