The Mexican government announced Tuesday that it is ramping up efforts to fight drug addiction.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador laid out his plan to fight substance use that centers around prevention, starting with youth.
“We are going to dedicate all of the resources of the state … in order to make sure that all of the youth are informed about this matter,” Lopez Obrador said in a news conference.
He reaffirmed the government’s commitment to making sure young people have access to education, work and good salaries. Well-being, he said, will help counter increased levels of addiction.
As part of the plan, the government will only distribute messages about the new program against addiction. The president did not mention for how long the messaging campaign will last.
“I have given the command that for a while we are not going to transmit messages about what we’re doing in the government other than the campaign against addiction,” said Lopez Obrador. “This is what you will hear and see on the radio, on television and newspapers. Only this for a while.”
While the campaign to inform youth about the harm of drugs is the first step, Lopez Obrador said the government has not ruled out other methods of possibly decreasing addiction, including legalizing some drugs like marijuana.
The Mexican president has previously said he is open to the idea of legalizing drugs in the fight against drug cartels and addiction. But added that the crusade to reduce drug use should start with educational plans, not reforming laws.
“We are not starting with the legislation … because if the solution were in the laws, there would be no problems. We will modify the legal framework if necessary, but this is a complex issue,” he said.
The Mexican government said one motivation of the plan is to fight a culture of substance use, which it said fuels the cartel economy.
A 2019 study by the government revealed that drug use in the country has nearly doubled in the last two decades.
Meanwhile, cartel violence has also increased. This year is on track to be the most violent year since the government started keeping track of the numbers in 1997.