Colombia Opens Mobile Drug Treatment Centers
By Dialogo September 19, 2012
Bogota Mayor’s Office opened its first two mobile drug treatment units on September 17, a novel initiative in Latin America.
The authorities explained that each Mobile Drug Treatment Center for Drug Addicts (CAMAD) has a team that consists of a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a physician, a dentist, and several nurses.
This team is authorized to provide prescription drugs to reduce the anxiety caused by cocaine, heroin, and “bazuko” (similar to cocaine paste).
The first CAMAD began to operate in a centric area known as the “Bronx”, which suffers from high levels of poverty, social exclusion, and drug addiction.
“This CAMAD is an attempt to dignify children, women, men, teenagers. To build peace,” stated Mayor Gustavo Petro, former leftist senator and former member of the M-19 guerrillas, which was demobilized in 1990.
The unit assigned to the “Bronx” will not only assist people suffering from drug addiction problems, but also all the population that lives on the streets which varies “between 4,000 and 6,000 people, including children, women, and the elderly,” the local Health Secretary Guillermo Jaramillo told journalists.
The first CAMAD patient was a young pregnant woman, informed Colombian radio station RCN.
This project is based on the experience of cities in Canada, Portugal, Netherlands, and Switzerland. The first two units were allocated a budget of about US$ 1.3 million.
In July, Colombia passed a law establishing that drug addiction must be considered a public health problem, and its consumers must be treated as patients, not criminals.
A study carried out by the Mayor’s Office concluded that, out of 7.3 million Bogota inhabitants, 125,000 are drug users. In turn, 70,000 people out of the 125,000 are considered “substance abusers,” and within this group there are 7,000 “bazuko” consumers.