The U.S. Department of State and the Drug Enforcement Administration Educational (DEA) Foundation will co-sponsor a trans-regional scientific symposium on crack/smoked cocaine for the Southern Cone and select West African countries at the Museum of Science & Industry in Tampa, Florida from March 27-28.
The symposium will bring together representatives of host government ministries and offices responsible for anti-narcotics and drug treatment, and drug treatment NGOs from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Guinea Bissau and Liberia. Participants from the U.S. Department of State, Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs’ (INL) international team of scientists and medical universities, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the DEA will address the growing problem of crack cocaine addiction in these regions and the resultant challenges that are over burdening health care delivery systems and law enforcement officials.
The symposium is a response to an unprecedented outbreak of an inexpensive and toxic version of crack cocaine use in the Southern Cone region of South America. Its low price has attracted many child addicts. Crack cocaine has been confirmed in Liberia and Guinea Bissau, as West Africa is a transit point for cocaine from Latin America to Europe.
In response to the crack cocaine threat INL has been at the forefront of international efforts to address child addiction and crack cocaine use. INL has provided substantial support for this symposium and has contributed funding for a collaborative effort with the OAS and Brazil to assist Southern Cone countries with creating national strategies/integrated plans to address the crack cocaine threat. INL is also working with the OAS, United Nations, World Health Organization, and Brazil to include the Southern Cone region in a global project that is pioneering the world’s first treatment protocols for drug addicted children.