By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Rio’s Department of Social Assistance is requesting some R$4 billion of federal money to put towards the city’s fight against growing crack consumption and addiction. The funds will come from a federal project launched last week by President Dilma Rousseff.
“We will join the federal government’s plan and we will be making our requests soon. The funds will help us open more vacancies in the shelters and put a greater number of officers on the streets,” said Rodrigo Bethlem, Rio Municipal Social Assistance Secretary.
He stressed the importance of the social rehabilitation of young drug addicts, adding that the reintegration of former addicts was the greatest challenge the city faced over the issue.
The news coincided with the detaining of 62 people, including eight minors, on Monday in the Jacarezinho district of Rio de Janeiro by officers from the Third Battalion and child and adolescent protection agency DPCA.
Police said that crack and packaging materials were seized during the operation. The district, in Rio’s Zona Norte (North Zone), includes an area named “Cracolândia” after the drug.
In May of this year the state hosted a seminar “Strategies to Combat Crack”, aimed at civil and military police, firefighters and city police officers. The Secretary of State for Security, José Mariano Beltrame, attended, demonstrating the growing concern among authorities.
Shortly after, reports broke of an even more deadly and highly addictive drug, oxi – a mix of cocaine paste, gasoline, kerosene, quicklime and, in some cases, cement and sulfuric acid – starting reaching communities in Rio.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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