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International News

Brazil's Emerging Market: Crack

January 26, 2012

In the United States, studies linked crack use with increases in HIV infections and violent crime in cities such as Washington and New York during the 1980s. Now mayors in Brazil, from Rio de Janeiro to outposts in the Amazon, are lamenting the growth of "cracklands," as cocaine producers expand into emerging markets to offset declines in US consumption.

In São Paulo, hundreds of zombielike and rail-thin users wander at night in a downtown no-man's land known as Cracolândia. Though the area was already a skid row, crack use there is exploding. A clearance campaign launched Jan. 3 resulted in the arrests of dozens, seizures of large quantities of crack, and the demolition or bricking-up of crack dens.

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