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Monday, February 2, 2015

Mexican President seeks to reverse Growing Addictions Trend

Presidency of the Republic

During the introduction of the Program for the Prevention and Treatment of Addictions, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto urged the country’s state and municipal authorities, together with the federal government, to form a common front in order to reverse the growing trend of higher addictions among the population, especially the most vulnerable sector: adolescents and children.


He noted that the government firmly assumes its responsibility in this regard. “We do not want Mexicans to destroy their lives, or young people to truncate their future, by using substances that harm their health,” he said.


The president declared that, “For a parent, the very suspicion that your child may be taking drugs is a distressing situation few are able to cope with.” He noted that in response to the growing threat of addiction, “Society and government must continue joining forces so that our children can have a healthy lifestyle, enabling them to grow and achieve their dreams.”


“Parents should be alert to their children’s needs, have accurate information to be able to talk to them, and guide them towards a bright, drug-free future. In this great responsibility, Mexico’s families will have the government’s support,” he added.


He said that for the country, addictions are a public health problem that affects millions of people in their everyday lives.


He stated that in Mexico, “One in three Mexicans between 12 and 65 consumes alcohol with risky drinking patterns. There are about 17 million active smokers and more than half a million people are dependent on illicit drugs.”


“These are figures taken from surveys conducted to determine the consumption and addictions recorded among the Mexican population. I would suspect that there are probably higher unrecorded figures, because a respondent may choose to admit or deny that he or she has a substance addiction,” he said.


He said that, “In addition to the economic costs of addiction, which are steadily increasing, it is estimated that Mexico spends approximately 61 billion pesos each year simply on diseases caused by smoking.”


The President explained that he therefore instructed the Secretariat of Health and the National Addictions Commission to prepare a Prevention and Comprehensive Care Program, presented {January 28). He outlined the six objectives of this program:


FIRST: “Strengthen measures to prevent the use of addictive substances that alter the nervous system. The experience is overwhelming. The best way to reduce the threat of addiction is through prevention.”


SECOND: “Improve the coverage and quality of services for people requiring treatment for addiction. Although the country now has a network of over 330 Primary Care for Addictions Centers, and over 110 Youth Integration Centers, care coverage must still be reinforced. We must ensure that rehabilitation treatments are based on scientific procedures and are fully respectful of patients' human rights.”


THIRD: “Strengthen the education and training of the men and women who are dedicated to addressing addiction problems.”


FOURTH: “Promote scientific research and technological innovation against addictions. In order to improve the design of public policies, care models and decision-making in the field, the development of research projects will be encouraged. And in this regard, cooperation between national and international institutions will be reinforced.”


FIFTH: “Have a modern, efficient regulatory framework for addictions.” The president said that the efforts being made, the collaboration between civil society and educational institutions in the public and private sectors, will also enable us to redefine public policies and update our regulatory framework to have a much more modern one capable of meeting the new challenges of the 21st century.


SIXTH: “Strengthen Mexico’s presence at international forums where the latest care models for addictions are discussed. This renewed global participation will allow Mexico to share its experiences and adopt worldwide best practices. We will therefore be fully up to date in cutting-edge research, as well as technical and financial cooperation issues.”


President Peña Nieto said that on the basis of these six objectives, the Program for the Prevention and Integral Treatment of Addictions includes 150 lines of action to prevent drugs from destroying the lives of thousands of Mexican families. He mentioned some of them:


Conduct national addictions surveys;

Bring sporting and cultural activities closer to young people;

Conduct information workshops for parents, because ultimately it is families that have to educate, inform and prevent addiction; and

Evaluate and certify the quality of treatment services.


The president announced that he has also instructed the Secretariat of Health, through the National Addictions Commission, to make more smoke-free public spaces available throughout the country.


Likewise, he continued, “We will work to extend the 'Don’t Drink and Drive' Program, which has been successful here in Mexico City, to major cities in the country, where cooperation between state and municipal authorities is essential.”


He expressed confidence that the country’s state authorities would embrace this goal of leveraging best practices, “Which have been successful elsewhere, as they have here, in Mexico City, in combating alcohol, and especially in preventing damage to those who may drive under the influence of alcohol.”


He noted that in the Federal District, implementation of this program has reduced the number of deaths associated with the consumption of alcoholic beverages by 30 percent.



"President Peña Nieto urges local authorities to make a common front against addictions," Presidency of the Republic, Mexico, DF, Jan. 28, 2015; translation by Presidency of the Republic (edited)

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