Indigenous Populations Substance Abuse

Collaboration on Substance Abuse Protection in Paraguay

Paraguay’s Ministry of Childhood and Indigenous Leaders Collaborate on Substance Abuse Protection and Rehabilitation

The Ministry of Childhood and Adolescence, along with indigenous leaders, established a roadmap for the protection and rehabilitation of children and adolescents in situations of substance abuse, reported MINNA in a press release on April 24, 2024.

The Ministry of Childhood and Adolescence has devised a plan to protect indigenous youth facing substance abuse issues. This initiative, developed in collaboration with community leaders from Punta Porá and Yhovy´í in the Caaguazú department, aims to provide comprehensive support and assistance.

At the discussion table were Minister Walter Gutiérrez from MINNA, Deputy Minister Eduardo Escobar Said focusing on Comprehensive Rights Protection, along with indigenous community leaders Cristino Duarte and Ramón Benítez.

The gathering resulted in strategies to ensure the rights of indigenous children and adolescents are safeguarded, while also promoting their overall well-being. Both parties pledged to work hand in hand within indigenous communities, aiming to offer necessary support and foster environments free from addiction.

Notably, Punta Porá and Yhovy´í communities boast culturally sensitive Rehabilitation Centers tailored to the indigenous way of life, emphasizing an approach that respects their traditions and worldview in tackling substance abuse.

Sumar: Drug Prevention Talk Reaches Carmelo Peralta School

Students at Basic School No. 7,587, nestled in the indigenous community of Punta Tiogai, Carmelo Peralta district, Alto Paraguay Department, engaged in discussions on preventing substance abuse as part of the Action Plan against Drug Abuse – Sumar.

This initiative is a key component of the Interinstitutional Committee for Addiction Prevention in Education, comprising the Paraguayan Institute of Indigenous Peoples (INDI) and other stakeholders, under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Sciences (MEC).

INDI supported the endeavor, extending its reach to students in both early childhood education and basic schooling. To fund these efforts, the National Government has earmarked G. 27.000 billion, primarily allocated for addiction prevention and treatment, sourced from assets seized by the National Secretariat for the Administration of Seized and Forfeited Goods (Senabico).

These initiatives form part of the comprehensive “Sumar” Plan spearheaded by the Executive Branch, aligning with legislation declaring a national emergency in response to drug consumption.

Narcotics in Indigenous Communities

The widespread proliferation of drugs is a troubling trend in indigenous communities in Alto Paraguay, writes Carlos Almiron for “Regrettably, authorities appear inactive in addressing this issue, failing to identify the key figures who supply drugs to indigenous individuals,” he states.

For Almiron, indigenous detainees “likely serve as mere pawns or couriers for the real masterminds, whom law enforcement must target to stem the alarming rise in drug use among indigenous populations,” he warns.

As an example of the need to improved control measures, Almiron explains that drug activity in districts like Bahia Negra and Fuerte Olimpo is limited to a single dirt road, with river travel providing an alternative route.

He writes that transportation options are scarce, making it feasible to monitor the movement of people more effectively through continuous control measures in the department.

In response to the escalating crisis, the establishment of the Antinarcotics Department of the National Police in Alto Paraguay has been activated. The Sumar program has been delivering educational talks as part of the action plan to combat the problem of drug addiction.

These talks are aimed at students from primary and secondary schools and are conducted by personnel from the Antinarcotics Department.

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