Topic of Interest
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Drugs: Stereotypes and Alternatives*
Along with the increase in drug consumption in the Hemisphere has come the
stereotyping of images related to it. Many of these stereotypes have been influenced
by the mass media such as cinema and television. Generally, when someone discusses
this topic, the immediate association made has to do with the trafficking of
narcotics and its repression, the criminal organizations involved with it, and
other illicit activities. Also, there is a subculture within some groups of
young people that promotes drug use; either as an expression of their rebellion
or that is under the influence and support of those same criminal organizations.
However, the subject of drugs has other facets: economic, political, clinical, epidemiological, social, familial--all essentially human--that are frequently ignored or resisted. Some dramatic examples can be seen in destroyed families, domestic violence, children living in the streets of many large Latin American cities, young people without futures or with brain damage, the loss of values, the lure of easy money and the limited national resources dedicated to the alleviation of this true social drama.
One of the actions implemented by some governments in the region is the formation of professionals specialized in drug addiction that are trained to develop plans and policies for international, national and communal contexts, as well as being able to intervene at an individual level. That is, the training of professionals with the aptitude, abilities and agility to prevent and treat this problem. Obviously, none of this diminishes the importance of those efforts aimed at repressing drug trafficking, money laundering, and the illegal sale of chemical stimulants or at encouraging alternative forms of development.
We are facing a problem whose magnitude and importance requires us to adopt strategies and actions with an integral and multisectorial perspective. It is a problem without borders that requires multiple, diverse and bold interventions and solutions.?
*The ideas, thoughts, and opinions expressed are not necessarily of the OAS nor of its member states. The opinions expressed are the responsibility of the authors.