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Drugs: Stereotypes and Alternatives*
*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.
What problems related to drugs are there in your community
and what actions are being taken to solve them?
Even though it was relatively unknown several years ago, the use of the drug Ecstasy has risen in Peru. As a result of several deaths, the police are now seizing this drug.
There are endless problems related with it: robberies, crimes. The State still has not found an effective alternative.
Our community has a particular problem with methamphetamine production and use. There are special police units that seek to investigate and pursue the producers and sellers as well as community involvement in order to assist the police with information about possible "meth-houses" where the drugs are made.
There have always been clear linkages between poverty and drug use in my community which unfortunately has overwhelmed the capacity of minorities to compete in the job market, in education, and to promote values in the community that will provide support mechanisms for those victimized by drug use. We can never do enough--nor have we--thus far as a community to be satisfied. Treatment centers and the like are the governments answer to the problem, but the community in which I live has yet to identify a clear strategy with leaders in place to make the necessary changes for the next generation.
2. Between the alternatives of prevention or repression,
which ones do you consider to be the most effective in reducing the
problem in the short-, medium- and long-terms?
For all drugs it is prevention. Repression only makes drugs more tempting, especially to adolescents.
Prevention is the preferred method, but it has not produced the expected results.
In the short-term, intervention by the authorities with people who sell drugs. In the medium-term, preventive vigilance. In the long-term, more education from the time children are in grade school, as well as more education among the general public.
Prevention seems to be the most effective medium and short term answer. If we can prevent the production and use from beginning we much better off. But I do believe that repression is still necessary to try to stop those who have already started to make, sell, and use the drugs.
Repression never works, so I am for prevention in a calculated sort of way. That means that we teach children the ills of drug use, perhaps we even let them see it by visiting drug treatment centers so that they can truly understand how much drugs can control the mind and spirit.