Applaud Ambitious Drug Rehabilitation Program

Target: Sao Paulo State Governor Geraldo Alckmin

Goal: Support Sao Paulo’s new drug rehabilitation program.

Illicit drug abuse is a common concern for many many countries, including emerging industrial powers like Brazil. Recent studies, including one by the Federal University of Sao Paulo cited by the Huffington Post last week, indicate that Brazil’s population leads the world in cocaine and crack cocaine use. The policy response to this “epidemic” stands in stark contrast to the punitive tendency toward incarceration in developed nations like the United States.

The Brazilian Federal State of Sao Paulo – containing South America’s largest city, also called Sao Paulo – recently instituted an ambitious rehabilitation program for cocaine and crack cocaine abusers. The “Begin Again” program allows participants a state-issued card to present accredited rehabilitation centers, effectively subsidizing six months of treatment. The state program, led by Governor Geraldo Alckmin, will provide benefits to as many as 3,000 cocaine users.

The goals of the program are varied. As Governor Alckmin explains, “this program will help [users] re-establish ties with their families and their friends. It will offer professional and cultural workshops and help them find jobs. In short, it will help reinsert them into society.”

Begin Again breaks with the norm of incarcerating illicit drug addicts – an expensive and overwhelmingly discredited approach in the American context. It recognizes that overcoming drug addiction is a lifelong challenge. Lend your support to Governor Alckmin and Sao Paulo’s rehabilitation efforts and encourage them to set a new standard for commonsense drug policies worldwide.


Dear Governor Geraldo Alckmin,

Policy approaches addressing illicit drug abuse and addiction in many countries rely upon punitive and ineffective incarceration far too often. Rather than addressing the key problems of addiction – much less seeking rehabilitation of millions of citizens – such methods are extremely expensive and woefully ineffective. Your recent efforts with the “Begin Again” program in Sao Paulo, however, break with such widely discredited programs, aiming to empower individuals whose lives are shattered by addiction to dangerous, illicit substances.

Thank you for your ambitious rehabilitation program, and demonstrate to the rest of Brazil – and the world – that compassionate, socially-focused, and skill-building approaches to rehabilitation are the key to long term success.


[Your Name Here]

Image Credit: World Economic Forum via Wikimedia

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