The proliferation of crack has reached alarming numbers in Brazil. According to a report released by the daily newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, 3,871 of the 5,564 Brazilian municipalities in the country are having to deal with the drug problem.
“We are talking about a whole crack geography,” said Paulo Ziulskoski, president of the CNM, National Confederation of Municipalities).
For the CNM, the promise to alter this reality was not fulfilled by the PT (Workers Party). This was one of the top priority issues promised to be dealt with by the Workers Party – President Lula’s party, whose popularity helped to elect Mrs. Dilma Roussef his successor.
Estimates are that crack consumption will lead to the death of 300,000 Brazilians in the next six years.
The research has also revealed that only 3,39% of the cities had submitted any sort of proposal to the federal government related to any effective anti-drug program and for drug treatment.
In the state of São Paulo this number was even lower with less than 2,50% of the cities showing any concrete concern for the problem. The CNM has also reported that the federal government is in large part responsible for the increased growth of crack consumption.
The São Paulo government has purposely placed several obstacles for municipalities to have access to the necessary funds for combating the widespread use of drugs and for treatment facilities.
In 2010 alone 62% of the municipalities had to rely on their own budget to combat the proliferation of drug use and to provide medical treatment for users.
The SENAD (National Politics Secretariat Against Drugs) has rebuffed the criticism alleging that this year they will provide 410 million reais (US$ 239 million) for projects related to drug prevention.
According to the SENAD, 73 million reais (US$ 43 million) should be used to create medical centers for drug treatment and NASFs (Center for Families Support).
Back in 2008, in Rio de Janeiro for example, between 80 and 90% of the homeless population were addicted to crack. The reason is simple, a pebble of crack which is a potent and highly addictive form of cocaine can be bought at a very low price.
For as little as 5 reais (US$ 2.9) anyone can have access to this drug, especially in the poorest areas of the city, where they are commercialized in broad daylight and are very profitable for drug dealers.
The homeless population is more vulnerable as this type of drugs easily takes away the appetite. In many parts of the country, there are entire blocks of crack users who congregate in certain areas forming the so-called Cracolândia or Crackland.
Edison Bernardo DeSouza is a journalist, having graduated in Social Communication Studies at Pontifical Catholic University in São Paulo, Brazil . He lived in the US and Canada for close to 12 years and participated in volunteering activities in social works agencies. DeSouza currently lives in São Paulo where he teaches English as a Second Language for both private English Language Institute and Private High-School. He is currently participating as an actor in two English Musicals in Sao Paulo – Brazil and is pursuing further advancements in his career. He is particularly interested in economics, history, politics and human rights articles.