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Jan 1 - Brazil's Drug Epidemic: Welcome To 'Crackland'

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 Jan 1 - Brazil's Drug Epidemic: Welcome To 'Crackland'
Unread 3 years agoclass of '04 - away - #1
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Sam Rothstein 73 heat pts73 space
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Brazilian health officials say an epidemic is taking hold an outbreak of crack cocaine use nationwide, from the major cities on the coast to places deep in the Amazon.

It's an image at odds with the one Brazil wants to project as the country prepares to host soccer's World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics two years later. But the problem has become too big to ignore.

The Luz district of central Sao Paulo was once grand, with its old train station and opulent buildings. Now, this neighborhood is known as Cracolandia Crackland.

On a recent night, skeletal figures in tattered, dirty clothes emerge mostly men, but some women. They're glassy eyed and jumpy, and looking for a quick fix, oblivious to the police helicopters overhead.

The only buffer between them and the rest of society this evening is Isabel Campos, a health worker who tries to convince addicts to seek help.

"They're here all day," she says, "smoking crack."
A suspected crack user is voluntarily removed from a local "Crackland" and carried by a social worker to a waiting van that will take her to a nearby shelter in Rio de Janeiro in November. Enlarge image

A suspected crack user is voluntarily removed from a local "Crackland" and carried by a social worker to a waiting van that will take her to a nearby shelter in Rio de Janeiro in November.
Felipe Dana/AP

Origins Of The Problem

Crack has been in Brazil since the 1990s, but its use exploded in the past six years, according to health and police officials. The reasons, they say, are proximity and porosity.

Brazil is a neighbor to the world's biggest cocaine-producing countries, and its borders are vast, remote and largely unguarded.

Eloisa Arruda, the secretary of justice for Sao Paulo state, says the market is alluring.

"Brazil offers a big market of cocaine and crack consumers," says Arruda. "And that's partly because people have more buying power."

She says the problem is similar to the crack crisis in the United States in the 1980s, when the drug engulfed cities and generated waves of violence.

"It's a big growth of people using crack in public," Arruda says. "People permanently in the street consuming drugs day and night."

The Brazilian approach has been to treat the problem as a health care crisis.
President Dilma Rousseff responded with a $2 billion drug prevention and treatment program.

In Sao Paulo, addicts are urged to seek help at Psychosocial Attention Centers 80 clinics where addicts can receive a bed for the night.
A man smokes crack near the Manguinhos slum in Rio de Janeiro in August. Enlarge image

A man smokes crack near the Manguinhos slum in Rio de Janeiro in August.
Felipe Dana/AP

Talking To Addicts

On a recent day, a group of crack users gathers at one center to watch a documentary and talk about drugs and society. A female addict says the real enemy is the state. She rattles off how low wages are in Brazil, how education is shoddy and opportunities scant.

Antonio Sergio Goncalves offers another reason. He's a psychoanalyst and has worked with addicts for 27 years. It's the well-organized distribution of crack, he says, which can be found in most cities. And then there's also crack's powerful addictive qualities.

"You feel instant ecstasy," says Marcelo Cordeiro, a crack addict. "The only thing is the depression that comes when you don't have it."

Cordeiro says crack is so much more intense than cocaine, but dangerous. He calls it euphoria, with morbidity.

It's a euphoria that the addicts in Sao Paulo's Cracolandia crave. One of them is Paulino, who won't give his last name. He's 50, very skinny, energetic and musically inclined, playing the harmonica. He also uses crack every day.

"I'm chemically dependent," he says. "I need crack in my blood."

He says that his illness is like a snake. What's the medicine for a snake?

He says it's venom crack.
Brazil's Drug Epidemic: Welcome To 'Crackland' : NPR
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18 comments for "Jan 1 - Brazil's Drug Epidemic: Welcome To 'Crackland'"

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Unread 3 years agoclass of '07 - away - #2
mainevent4u88 52 heat pts52 space
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"Did somebody say Crack..... LAND?!"
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '06 - away - #3
nightmare 429 heat pts429 space
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '06 - away - #4
Down-N-H-Town 5 heat pts space
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Damn... Even in Brazil, they got pictures of blacks doing crack.
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '05 - on now - #5
bobbysteels18 550 heat pts550 space
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I been living in crack land for years
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '06 - away - #6
nightmare 429 heat pts429 space
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Down-N-H-Town said:
Damn... Even in Brazil, they got pictures of blacks doing crack.
sh*t bad for blacks in many areas of this planet, not just here
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '06 - on now - #7
vinceisallin 9 heat pts space
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There goes all those b00tys
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '10 - away - #8
Rebirth46 53 heat pts53 space
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Down-N-H-Town said:
Damn... Even in Brazil, they got pictures of blacks doing crack.
most of the population in Brazil is black or mixed
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '10 - away - #9
Alerts 185 heat pts185 space
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Down-N-H-Town said:
Damn... Even in Brazil, they got pictures of blacks doing crack.
I posted this article last week, and this was brought up
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '04 - away - #10
dlettern 4 heat pts space
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Down-N-H-Town said:
Damn... Even in Brazil, they got pictures of blacks doing crack.
Black Brazilians make up half of Brazil's population so its not unfathomable. That being said, we all know how Black people are marginalized world-wide. Crack is a cheaper version of coke. Rich people do coke in their homes and clubs, crackheads do crack in crack dens
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '04 - away - #11
creep 14 heat pts14 space
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damn crack and aids?
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '06 - away - #12
DNa BRoWN 20 heat pts20 space
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vinceisallin said:
There goes all those b00tys
We should go there and try to save a few before they get too geeked out.
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '09 - away - #13
Spiffy 34 heat pts34 space
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and the Academy goes to..
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+1 for the white man
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '08 - away - #14
slimdogg3325 1 heat pts space
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til the world blow
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coincidence...

i think not.
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '07 - away - #15
wtr1906 30 heat pts30 space
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Hopefully this gets cleaned up before my Olympic trip
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '10 - away - #16
twt88 2 heat pts space
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Ass Tsunamis to match
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '05 - away - #17
Gm0ney85 8 heat pts space
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...wasnt there an article that came out that said the drug dealers will stop dealing for the 2016 olympics?...

this is sad tho.. word to nino brown.
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '06 - away - #18
nightmare 429 heat pts429 space
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Spiffy said:
+1 for the white man
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