RIO DE JANEIRO – Drug traffickers banned the sale of crack cocaine in Jacarezinho slum, one of Rio’s most notorious cracklands, on Wednesday. The ban is the idea of the traffickers themselves and they posted hand-written signs around the favela advising dealers of the ban, reported online media.
Rio Traffickers Ban Crack Sales in Slums
The prohibition extends to the neighboring communities of Manguinhos and Mandela, according to the wishes of drug lords. President of the NGO Rio de Paz (Peace Rio), Antonio Carlos Costa, said he received reports that addicts would create many problems within the slums due to the destructive hallucinogenic power of the drug and that the gang’s ban on crack sales could only serve as help for cocaine addicts.
Police sources told G1 that criminals are also worried about a possible occupation of the slums by the National Security Forces, as happened recently in the favela Morro Santo Amaro, in Catete.
The Federal Government, as part of operation “Crack can be conquered,” occupied favela Santo Amaro – considered the largest point of sale of crack cocaine in the South Zone of Rio – on May 18th. Before withdrawing, the Federal Troops installed a Pacification Police Unit (UPP) to occupy the slum.
The security secretary of Rio, José Mariano Beltrame, said on Tuesday that Jacarezinho is a planned occupation. “We have a proposal to pacify these areas. A proposal for development of these territories and we’ll get there. Let’s do it there,” quoted G1.
Antônio Carlos Costa of Rio de Paz, supports the ban on the sale of crack, but is alert to the problem of migration of consumers. “The government has to expect the problem because addicts will go to the other neighborhoods and communities. Authorities have to watch it closely,” quoted G1.
“If this initiative were to spread around the city, we could have another serious problem, which is withdraw symptoms,” said Costa.
According to the municipal Department of Social Services (SAMS), from March 31, 2011, when they started operations to combat the epidemic of crack cocaine, they have identified 4,496 (3,853 adults and 643 children and adolescents) addicts in the main cracklands of the city.
Favela Jacarezhinho had the largest number of crack addicts, with 1,565, followed by the Center, with 1,180.
The city has 178 beds in specialized units to treat the addiction.
Brazil is in the midst of a crack addiction epidemic reminiscent of the United States in the late 1980s and early 1990s. A report last year indicated that Brazilians smoke an estimated one metric ton of crack cocaine every day.