The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has recently opened another office on foreign soil. This new location in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was developed less than a year prior to one of the most high-profile international events: The upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics.
Before the office opened, Brazilian authorities expressed how eagerly they looked forward to getting the DEA’s expert help in combating Rio de Janeiro’s rampant drug trade. DEA agents will also be available to help support local law enforcement in stemming the flow of guns that the drug trade has brought into the country.
This new location will represent the Drug Enforcement Administration’s third office in Brazil, the other two being in Sao Paulo and Brasilia.
Brazil’s Drug Problem – Brazil is known for being one of the most violent and drug infested nations. The consumption of cocaine and crack has more than doubled in the country since 2005. According to a 2012 study conducted by the Brazilian Ministry of Health, the use of crack is growing at an alarming rate. According to the study, 0.81 percent of the total population in the 26 state capitals of Brazil used crack on a regular basis. This represents approximately 370,000 users; 50,000 of which are minors. The same study also suggests that 2.28 percent of the surveyed population (approximately one million people) uses other elicit drugs with some degree of regularity.
Supply and Demand – Whenever there is a major event happening (i.e. Olympics, World Cup, etc.) there is going to be a greater market for drug dealers and sex traffickers. With an increase in the number of people in the country using drugs, the DEA will have its hands full next summer. For security reasons, details about this new DEA office, including the number of agents that will work out of the office, will not be released.
More Than Drugs – As the Brazilian authorities are well aware, this war on drugs entails more than just drugs. The local experts and the US officials aim to eliminate the presence of drugs, remove dealers from the streets, and increase gun control. All of these issues are harmful to the Brazilian society, and both parties are strategically targeting them in order to improve the quality of life for Brazilian citizens.