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1. Wide of man handing small packages to suspected crack cocaine users
2. Tight of man thought to be smoking crack cocaine in the open
3. Wide of news conference to announce programme for crack addicts
4. Mid of Geraldo Alckmin, Governor of the State of Sao Paulo, signing document to launch the programme to help crack cocaine users
5. Wide of Alckmin walking to the podium
6. SOUNDBITE (Portuguese) Geraldo Alckmin, Governor of the State of Sao Paulo:
“This card is neither for the addicts nor for their family members. The card is for the rehabilitation centre. It is to pay the rehabilitation centre a daily rate of 45 reals, or 1,350 reals per month.”
7. Wide of suspected crack users in the open
8. Mid shot of group of men, one of whom is holding what appears to be a pipe used to smoke crack cocaine
Brazil’s most populous and wealthiest state on Thursday expanded its efforts to help curb crack cocaine abuse by unveiling a new programme that will provide 1,350 reals (650 US dollars) a month in subsidies for the rehabilitation of addicts at private treatment centre.
The state will give the money to accredited rehabilitation centres when addicts aged 18 and over present a ‘Begin Again’ card they receive after enrolling in a programme.
Announcing the programme, Sao Paulo State Governor Geraldo Alckmin stressed “This card is neither for the addicts nor for their family members. The card is for the rehabilitation centre.”
The cards are valid for six months, the time considered necessary for rehabilitation.
Alckmin said that each of the 11 cities in the programme will decide the criteria that determine if drug users are eligible.
The city of Sao Paulo itself was not included because users in the state capital are served by a network of public treatment centres.
Alckmin said the state will invest 4 million reals (2 million US dollars) a month in the programme that will benefit 3,000 users.
Demand for crack has boomed in recent years, and open-air ‘cracolandias’ or ‘cracklands’, are found in the urban areas of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, with hundreds of users gathering to smoke the drug.
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.
Last year, the federal government announced that more than 2 billion US dollars would be spent to fight the epidemic, allotting money to train health care workers, buy thousands of hospital and shelter beds, and create transitional centres for recovering users.
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