Brazil Launches War On Crack

By Dialogo
May 24, 2010

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva unveiled a national war on crack cocaine, a drug that is increasingly causing addiction, health problems and crime in Brazilian cities and towns. "We are going to find a way to play tough in the fight against crack," Lula told a meeting of mayors in Brasilia. He said more than 200 million dollars would be spent on an anti-drugs plan to reinforce health services, social assistants, Church-sponsored programs and social organizations tackling the issue. Brazil will also step up anti-narcotics checks along its vast borders with other South American nations. Lula said the drug was being used mostly by the poor living on the outskirts of cities and towns. "What is most serious is that it is deadly, it's cheap, anybody can be a user and it has a devastating effect," he said. Crack is typically made from a paste of unprocessed cocaine mixed with chemical additives, often paraffin, benzine, ether or sulfuric acid. It creates high levels of dependency and ravages the health of addicts. Officials said crack had not yet become a big criminal industry in Brazil -- a fact which created its own problem in efforts to stamp it out. "At least in Brazil there are no big dealers. They are basically small-time. The drug is scattered everywhere, which makes it difficult to fight," Justice Minister Luiz Paulo Barreto said.