Ecuador is addicted to dangerous drugs

by Team Inc.

ecuador drug hub

Cartels in Ecuador manufacture drugs to maximize their profitability. People with the least to spend are seen as short-term clients and are fed the deadliest drug cocktails.

The recent assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio drew attention to the increasing violence in Ecuador due to the drug trade. Bordering Colombia and Peru, the largest cocaine producers in the world, Ecuador is now a hub for the global drug trade – and the most desperate and addicted pay the price. The murdered Ecuadorian presidential candidate was threatened by drug cartels for speaking out against organized crime. Ecuador has become a hub for the global drug trade, and addiction rates across the country are soaring.

Help for drug addicts

In Puyo there is a center that helps young people with addiction. One of the few government agencies that does this in the country. Teenagers play games and sports here to improve their social skills and behaviour. The center has 42 beds with separate wings for the treatment of boys and men. Some teens, many from indigenous communities, have been placed there by court order. Many joined gangs to escape abusive families and found that cocaine, marijuana, and pills were readily available. A 2016 survey of high school students found that 12% had done so in the past XNUMX months illegal means had used.

Adults at the center receive vocational training to help them reintegrate into the labor market. Art is used to help them express their emotions and communicate more effectively. Patients receive regular group therapy and one-on-one sessions with a psychologist. Family members are encouraged to attend. About half of all patients revert to the same behavior within 30 days of leaving a treatment center, and more than three-quarters within the first year.

It is not the drugs that kill them, but the chronic decline in health. Most people are malnourished and homeless. The drug most commonly used is sold under the name 'H': a white heroin-based powder that costs just one dollar per gram. Some street drugs have been found to contain rat poison, cement or quicklime. Guayaquil is the center of the drug trade in Ecuador. People who help drug users are often threatened by the cartels.

Drug transport to Europe

Usage is not only a major problem in the country itself. Ecuador is the new hub when it comes to cocaine transport to Europe. Mexican cartels and Albanian drug traffickers pull the strings in Ecuador and allow local gangs to fight hard over the export routes. Ecuadorian ports hardly have scanners and personnel to check exports. Corruption in the country is also a problem.

This autumn, Dutch Customs will send a delegation to Ecuador to discuss the operational details of cooperation. Customs already have people in Brazil, Curaçao and Panama. Soon someone will also go to Suriname. The ultimate goal is for Dutch Customs to have a network of customs officers throughout Latin America with whom we can collaborate. To be the eyes and ears there and see what we can stop.

Source ao: (EN)

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