Sao Paulo to Forcibly Commit Crack Addicts

Brazilian state adopts new strategy amid soaring demand
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 4, 2013 2:08 PM CST
Sao Paulo to Forcibly Commit Crack Addicts
In this photo taken Nov. 22, 2012, an alleged crack addict tries to bite a social worker as she is taken to a nearby shelter in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.   (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

(Newser) – Officials in Brazil's most populous state say they will start forcing adult crack addicts to go to rehabilitation centers in an effort to curb growing use of the drug. The Sao Paulo state plan was announced yesterday and is scheduled to begin in 10 days. Addicts who refuse treatment can be committed against their will by an anti-drug commission of judges, prosecutors, and lawyers.

Demand for crack has grown in recent years and addicts have occupied open-air "crack lands" in cities such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. A recent study by the Federal University of Sao Paulo found that Brazil is now the world's largest consumer of both cocaine and its crack derivative. About 6 million adults have tried cocaine in some form. (Read more crack cocaine stories.)

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