CADCA Addresses Big Problems in Brazil by More Coalition Building
CADCA works with countries in five continents, helping them form community coalitions to address their local substance abuse problems. One of the countries in which CADCA has had the most success is Brazil, a nation with a substance abuse problem almost as large as its love of soccer and Carnival, but CADCA is working with communities to form coalitions to help address these problems.
The first CADCA-formed and trained coalition in Brazil, the Coalizão Comunitária Antidrogas de Pindamonhangaba in the state of Sao Paulo, has achieved many outcomes and is viewed as a model. With the cooperation of all the sectors, especially their local government and faith community, says coalition president and Training Facilitator Eliane Prado Marcondes, this coalition has also always been able to rely on CADCA to teach them the core competencies and provide ongoing technical assistance.
“With the support of local authorities such as our mayor, judges and prosecutors, it was possible to have the union and integration of the 12 sectors that make up a community coalition following the scientific methodology of CADCA,” Prado Marcondes said. “Pindamonhangaba now has the lowest rate in Brazil in regards to the sale of alcoholic beverages to persons under 18 years, which is a crime according to the law and yet not respected in our country.”
The coalition’s efforts have also reduced urban violence and marijuana use, Prado Marcondes said.
The positive results of the Pindamonhangaba Coalition influenced the neighboring town of Taubaté. The Coalition Taubaté, implementing CADCA training, also had a significant reduction of drunk driving, fights and alcoholic coma of adults and minors during its Great Feast Carnival event during the past two years.
“Pinda Coalition continues to be the benchmark for community coalitions, not only in Brazil, but in other countries where CADCA works. They have drastically reduced the alcohol use among underage kids, through environmental changes, working mainly in partnership with law enforcement and local government,” said CADCA’s new Vice-President, International Programs, Eric Siervo. “Coalition Taubaté has followed Pinda’s footsteps and has stablished an important role in the city’s prevention efforts. They have developed several activities during important events and holidays, such as the world cup and carnival, bringing awareness about the risks of drug consumption and underage drinking.”
Since 2008, CADCA’s work in Brazil, funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), and conducted in cooperation with long-time partner Associação Pró Coalizões do Brasil, has focused upon the state of São Paulo, the most populous. In 2014, based on CADCA’s successful outcomes in the communities in Brazil, the State Department decided to provide resources to expand work. In that year, the work in Brazil expanded into four new cities in two different states: Rio de Janeiro’s Porto Real/Quatis; and from the state of São Paulo, Caçapava, Santos and Bragança Paulista.
After conducting five trainings in each of these communities, this summer, CADCA graduated all four community coalitions. These coalitions’ accomplishments include:
Bragança Paulista Coalition, with the help of the city’s Roman Catholic Bishop, has partnered with the Universidade São Francisco to assist with assessment.
Santos Coalition will be collaborating with the Brazilian National Institute of Research for Public Policy on alcohol and other drugs in its work.
Caçapava Coalition’s graduation will strengthen the network of coalitions in the Paraiba Valley region of the state which include the highly successful coalitions in Pindamonhanga and Taubaté.
The Porto Real Coalition has received enthusiastic support from local law enforcement, which already resulted in changes regarding closing hours of bars in the city.
Prado Marcondes recalled, “In Porto Real, the bars would close early in the morning, around 4 a.m., but now they are closed at Midnight. Locals can see the change in those streets surrounding those bars. Residents had complained prior to the earlier closures that they couldn’t sleep because of the number of drunk people out in the streets being rowdy and behaving violently.”
Since CADCA’s work in Brazil began in 2008, Brazil has expanded its coalition capacity in four states: Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and Pernambuco, totaling 16 cities.
“I hope we can be part of the process in the long term for Brazil…I am very proud of what became of our coalition…That’s what makes the difference,” Prado Marcondes said.
CADCA recently began coalition building and training in three new cities in the country: São Paulo (São Paulo state), Recife (Pernambuco state) and Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro state). CADCA plans on building two coalitions in each one of these cities. The work is being funded by the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia, Siervo stated.
CADCA’s new International Programs Manager, Debora Arrais, a long-time CADCA supporter from Brazil, states, “While in Brazil I had the chance to see the impact of CADCA trainings in the communities to bring about change. For me now, it is a pleasure to work at CADCA and to continue to work with the communities in my home country and see them becoming empowered to make changes and create safer, healthier and happier environments.”