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Brazil forcing young people into mandatory drug treatment

Municipal workers in Rio de Janeiro arrest alleged drug addicts found sleeping on the streets. Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times.

To address its rampant drug addiction and homelessness problem Brazil is using teams of police and social workers to round up young people and incarcerate them in mandatory drug treatment programs, according to this Los Angeles Times article.

Critics say the program violates rights of these minors and Brazil is merely doing it to clear its streets before the World Cup soccer tournament and the Olympics. Adults who are arrested have the right to leave and soon do, leaving mostly children and teens in the program.

“It’s not easy for us to go into these communities, because of all the resistance we encounter, and because this program is new and we’re still not entirely sure what will happen to the children after they finish it,” said Daphne Braga, a social worker.

“We just really hope we’re doing the right thing for these kids.”

Q: Social workers, what do you think about Brazil’s decision to force people into drug treatment?

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1 Comment

  1. You can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. That’s my first concern. On the other hand, if drug abuse and homelessness is that big of a problem for youth in Brazil, at least they are doing something for their youth, rather than allowing them to fall victim to gangs and street drugs.

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