President Oscar Arias’ administration will soon launch a national plan to crack down on drugs during the next five years, keeping in line with what officials called an aggressive approach to a problem the administration has prioritized since Arias took office in May.
Arias’ brother, Presidency Minister Rodrigo Arias, as well as Vice-President Laura Chinchilla and Public Security Minister Fernando Berrocal, held a press conference earlier this month to explain the plan and the results of a study conducted recently to assess the drug situation in Costa Rica.
Among the study’s findings are that 18.7 metric tons of cocaine have been seized since Arias took office in May, almost double the 9.8 tons seized all year during 2005.
Additionally, authorities have seized 60.3 kilograms of heroine so far this year, surpassing the 50.6 kilos seized last year, and 127,830 doses of crack.
“The main problem in Costa Rica is the consumption of crack, a very addictive type of drug,” Berrocal said.
Arrests of drug traffickers during the first eight months of Arias’ administration are also up 183% over the year 2005, according to authorities.
To remain tough on drugs, the administration is launching the National Anti-Drug Plan to go into effect from 2007-2012. It aims to combat poverty, prevent drug use and treat young drug addicts at a detoxification center to be financed with funds from the Child Welfare Office (PANI), Costa Rican Anti-Drug Institute (ICD), Institute of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (IAFA) and San José Social Protection Council.
Chinchilla said authorities are studying legal reforms to “adopt Costa Rican laws to the reality of the drug trade so that Costa Rica doesn’t become a country favorable to this type of crime.”