Brazil Launches $2B Program to Counter Crack

The Brazilian government has announced a $2 billion dollar program aimed at curbing the spread of crack cocaine in the country.

The government’s spending on the program will go towards providing medical treatment for drug addicts as well as a crackdown on drug trafficking in border areas.

According to Health Minister Alexandre Padilha, Brazil is “facing an epidemic” of drug use. Speaking while releasing the details of the program at a press conference in Brasilia on Wednesday, Padilha said crack cocaine has become “a deep social wound” in Brazil.

According to a statement released by Brazil’s Health Ministry, the program will establish more than 300 medical offices to provide healthcare in areas with large numbers of drug users, and will create networks to assist recovering addicts.

In addition, around 210,000 teachers and 3,300 police officers will be given training in delivering anti-drug messages, and more troops will be deployed to tighten security along Brazil’s borders.

President Dilma Rousseff has invested $6.3 billion in a national strategy to secure the Brazil’s 17,000 km frontier, which it shares with a number of the world’s biggest drug producing nations. While Brazil is not a cocaine producing nation, it is a major consumer of the drug, as well as of its by-product crack.