Saturday, June 6, 2009

Addiction in Juarez: Compare With Denver

Diario this morning carries a story about drug addiction rates in Juarez. The Chihuahua state Coordinating Office Against Addiction estimates there are 42,000 drug addicts in Juarez, about 3.2% of the population. Out of these persons addicted, approximately 10,000, according to the article, are admitted to drug treatment centers each year.

Compare with the drug stats in Denver. According to a November 2008 report on Denver by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), a White House agency, during 2007, "approximately 46,113 Denver residents reported dependence on or Abuse of any illicit drug or alcohol within the past year, representing approximately 3.30% of the population." The same report shows that in 2007 there were 12,027 substance abuse treatment admissions in the Denver/Boulder metropolitan area.

Thus, it seems the drug stats for Denver and Juarez are strikingly similar, in drug abuse rates and admissions to treatment centers. So if the recent killings at drug rehabilitation centers has rightly shocked the local population, the evidence suggests that even with the closing of 15 drug rehab centers, this isn't changing the overall picture. There are 70 drug rehabilitation centers left in Juarez, plus the Center for Juvenile Integration, which has 2500 beds.

What the comparison between Denver and Juarez shows, perhaps most strikingly, is that Juarez in the past few years had graduated (or perhaps better said, decayed) to the level of a fairly mature, relatively typical U.S. metropolitan area of similar size, in terms of overall drug abuse and treatment.

What is different in Juarez is the level of violence during this current stage in the drug policy history of Mexico. And this has more to do with the structure of the drug trade as an industry, and its relationship to governments, than it has to do with the characteristics of the drug consuming population or efforts to alleviate the costs of addiction. In a separate article I read that in Denver the "success" rates for drug treatment are estimated at between 2% and 20%. If that is any indicator, Juarenses should not place too much hope in treatment centers for reducing drug addiction in their city.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

Addiction treatment centers have different treatment programs for various specific addictions such as alcoholism and substance abuse.