The Costa Rica Star this week published an article about CADCA’s work in that Central American country. The article was also written in English, which makes it more accessible to United States coalition members.
For several years, the story explains, people in the Pavas district of Costa Rica were experiencing an increase in crime and in youth marijuana use. But after a coalition was formed, thanks to the training and assistance from CADCA’s International Programs, local citizens developed a planning process and began implementing evidence-based prevention strategies.
CADCA began working in Costa Rica two years ago to help concerned citizens in Pavas form a community coalition. Located within the greater metropolitan area of the capital city of San Jose, Pavas is the largest and most populated district in Costa Rica.
To help reduce crime in the town, one of the first strategies the coalition implemented was to increase police patrols in key problem areas. A group of coalition members, led by a coalition member who is also a local dentist, approached the Ministry of Justice voicing their concerns. In response, the Ministry assigned 25 police officers to patrol hot spots in Pavas.
The Pavas coalition has also implemented several strategies to address youth marijuana and alcohol use. For example, they increased the number of recreational and sporting activities for youth and launched initiatives to educate young people about the dangers of drug and alcohol use. These strategies helped build the coalition’s capacity and leveraged resources for eventual community change.
CADCA currently works with countries on five continents, helping them form community coalitions to address their local substance abuse problems. Since 2005, CADCA has helped build over 130 community anti-drug coalitions in 22 countries. CADCA’s demand reduction activities in Costa Rica are supported by the US Department of State, Bureau of International Law Enforcement and Narcotics.