Brazilians Watch Increasing Trends in Drug Abuse


Brazil shares its extensive land borders with all three major source countries (Bolivia, Peru and Colombia) that grow the coca plant for cocaine. It also has a large population who use large amounts of both powder cocaine and crack cocaine. It also has a very long coastline affording easy access to the Atlantic Ocean for trafficking to Africa and Europe. Brazil therefore plays an important role in the global cocaine market as both a destination and a transit country.

According to the 2012 World Drug Report, in 2011 most of the cocaine seized in Brazil was grown in Bolivia (54 percent), followed by Peru (38 percent) and Colombia (7.5 percent).

In a recent study of students in the 27 Brazilian state capitals, three percent of college students said they were cocaine users. The estimate in the general population of cocaine use was 1.75 percent which is also consistent with increasing cocaine use in Brazil. A very recent article stated, “Brazil today is the world's largest consumer of both cocaine and its crack derivative, according to the Federal University of Sao Paolo. About 6 million adults, or 3 percent of Brazilians, have tried cocaine in some form.”

Brazil is also a point of transit for cocaine consignments going to West and Central Africa and Europe - notably the Iberian Peninsula. There seems to be an entrance point for cocaine from Brazil in Portugal and certain Portuguese-speaking African countries, perhaps due to linguistic and cultural ties. Brazil is the country of origin most often in individual cocaine shipments seized by Portuguese authorities and these shipments have increased dramatically from 2008 to 2009.

Brazil Struggles with Crack Abuse

Local demand for crack has boomed in recent years and open-air "cracolandias," or "crack lands," have appeared in the urban centers of Rio and Sao Paulo, where hundreds of users gather to smoke the drug. The federal government announced early in 2012 that it would spend more than $2 billion to fight the crack epidemic, allocating money to train health care workers, buy thousands of hospital and shelter beds, and create transitional centers for recovering users.

Rio de Janeiro has started trying to help the burgeoning number of crack users with a unique approach that city leaders call proactive, but critics condemn as unnecessarily aggressive. As of May 2011, users living in the streets have been scooped up in pre-dawn raids by teams led by the city's welfare department in conjunction with police and health care workers. By December of 2012, 5,582 people had been picked up in this way, including 734 children. Most adults are released within a few days, but the State tries to place the children in rehab programs or hospitals to help get them off the streets and over their addiction. There is some evidence that the State’s approach could be effective, with 47 percent of the crack users surveyed in Sao Paulo who said they would welcome such treatment.

Narconon Helps Drug Abusers in South America

While the State is making efforts that can help those in dire need, there is also a need for effective drug rehab among the rest of the population. There are Narconon centers are located in Latin America.

Drug Addiction Help

The full eight-phase Narconon program, can help a person recover successfully from drug abuse. In addition to detoxifying the body from the harmful effects of drugs, the Narconon program includes training on many life skills which can help the recovering person to remain drug-free long after the program is completed. Evidencing the effectiveness of the program is the fact that the large majority of Narconon graduates do go on to lead successful, drug-free lives.

To learn more about the Narconon program, call a rehab specialist.


  • The Huffington Post, Crack In Brazil: Authorities Debate Treatment Options For Crack Epidemic, 12/30/12, Available online at:
  • UNODC, 2012 World Drug Report, Vienna, Available online at:

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