Source: Telam

Argentina has too many citizens and residents addicted to drugs and is under attack from narcos, according to the government, which has declared a “National Emergency With Regards To Addictions” until 31 December 2018.  

The measure, announced in today’s Official Bulletin, has as its “backbone” a “comprehensive approach” to the “prevention and treatment” of addiction, including “the social inclusion of those people that are affected by this issue.” It will see SEDRONAR, the government agency that deals with drug addiction and drug trafficking, elaborate and implement a series of actions – still to be thoroughly fleshed out – to achieve this goal.

The decree was also signed by the Minister for Social Progress, Carolina Stanley
The decree was also signed by the Minister for Social Progress, Carolina Stanley

The government, which included “destroying narco-trafficking” as one of its 2015 campaign promises, has been talking about drugs for quite some time. In January, the President claimed that the “inaction or complicity” of the previous government had led to the advancement of narcotrafficking “like never before.” Then, in August, he announced the plan “Argentina Without Drugs,” which focuses on implementing awareness programs in schools. On November 29, Security Minister Patricia Bullrich inaugurated the Center of Criminal Intelligence in Jujuy, which will gather data about drug-trafficking in the region.

Though the government’s language about combating drugs has hitherto been bellicose, this latest decree, with its emphasis on the “health” of “civic duty,” and references to social inclusion, will presumably involve treating drug addiction as a sickness as opposed to (or possibly in addition to) a crime.

In declaring the emergency, the government relies, in part, on report prepared by the National Pontificate Catholic University of Argentina. The report describes an “important increase” in the number of argentine homes that perceive an “increase in the sale of drugs in their neighborhood,” particularly in urban centers, the conurbano bonaerense, and in the north of the country. The report cites poverty as one of the key factors implicated in addiction, describing the drug addict as someone who is frequently “marked by a process of alienation of their human dignity.”

Map showing cocaine trafficking flow prepared by UN, which shows Argentina is a place where cocaine is prepared and shipped out to Erurope. Source UNOC
Map showing cocaine trafficking flow prepared by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, released in 2015. It shows that Argentina is a place where cocaine is consumed and redistributed. Source UNOC

It has also been prompted by the Catholic Church’s repeated cries for a coordinated response to drug-related problems. Pope Francis, in particular, has been very vocal about drugs,
describing drug trafficking as a “true crime against humanity.”