Crack and women

According to a recent survey by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), the number of people addicted to crack in Brazil has passed the striking number of one million users. Health experts compare the crack epidemic in our country to the AIDS epidemic in Africa. Another alarming fact is that the average age of those trying it for the first time is 13. However, those who think that only the poorest strata of society are at the mercy of this mortal danger are mistaken. The drug is also present in the more affluent social classes in a devastating way.

The disastrous physical and mental impact caused by the rocks of crack is triggered when a person lights the handmade pipe—it could be called infernal—for the first time, because it does not only ruin the life of the user, but of his/her whole family. The illusory sensation of well-being and euphoria is tragically made evident in the progressive degradation of the body and Soul of those addicted. 

According to Dr. Solange Nappo, a researcher at the Brazilian Center for Information on Psychotropic Drugs (CEBRID), “when crack first entered Brazil, and more precisely São Paulo, the user profile was that of a male. Women were occasional users, something rare. At the beginning of the year 2000, we started receiving indication and information from the users themselves that women had adhered to the culture of crack use.”

In an interview to the program "Solidary Society", broadcast by Boa Vontade TV (Channel 20 on SKY cable TV), Dr. Solange commented that the fact that women became users of the narcotic changed the whole dynamic of the addiction. “Male users generally became criminals. They steal to buy crack. They’re not professional criminals. Due to this, with their inexperience, they’re easily arrested and end up creating a problem for the drug trafficker, who loses a potential customer, and most of the time these users already owe for the drugs they consume. When women are immersed in the underworld of crack, they become the front line, because the risk of being arrested is much lower. Instead of stealing, they sell their bodies,” she explained.


To aggravate the situation, when women prostitute themselves to get hold of the drug, they become the focus of sexually transmitted diseases, particularly of the HIV. 

With regard to this, Dr. Solange clarified: “A woman who turns a trick because of her compulsion for the drug does it without any protection at any time and in any place. She doesn’t stay in one place waiting for someone to pass by. She goes looking for a partner in an attempt to get money from him quickly so she can buy her rock of crack. And not to mention those who get pregnant and have no structure to be a mother. This situation of vulnerability causes women physical, psychological, and organic complications of every type. When a woman enters this culture, she brings with her an enormous social problem. In a group of 80 women we interviewed, at least 40% of them were HIV-positive.”

Thank you, Dr. Solange, for your elucidation. It is a sad reality that cannot be ignored. In addition to the essential public policies needed to fight crack, family values must be urgently strengthened with Ecumenical Spirituality. It is in the family that lies the solution to many of the problems that afflict Humanity.

José de Paiva Netto is a writer, journalist, radio broadcaster, composer, and poet. He is the President of the Legion of Good Will (LGW), effective member of the Brazilian Press Association (ABI) and of the Brazilian International Press Association (ABI-Inter). Affiliated to the National Federation of Journalists (FENAJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Union of Professional Journalists of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the Union of Writers of Rio de Janeiro, the Union of Radio Broadcasters of Rio de Janeiro, and the Brazilian Union of Composers (UBC). He is also a member of the Academy of Letters of Central Brazil. He is an author of international reference in the concept and defense of the cause of Ecumenical Citizenship and Spirituality which, according to him, constitute “the cradle of the most generous values that are born of the Soul, the dwelling of the emotions and of the reasoning enlightened by intuition, the atmosphere that embraces everything that transcends the ordinary field of matter and comes from the elevated human sensitivity, such as Truth, Justice, Mercy, Ethics, Honesty, Generosity, and Fraternal Love.”