Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Crack has become a nationwide epidemic in Brazil. The drug's use is spreading quickly, especially in the impoverished favelas, or slums. Above, a woman smokes crack in Mandela, a favela that was recently "pacified" by Brazil's military police.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

Addicts roam around a cracolandia in the Antares slum.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

Slums flled with crack and cash are within sight of the stadium in Rio that will host the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in 2016.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

Young drug dealers show off their weapons in Antares on Rio's outskirts. Unlike many favelas in the center of the city, Antares is unlikely to be taken over by police because of its remoteness.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

A dealer sells a small bag of crack along the train tracks.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

An addict in Mandela uses a plastic cup to smoke crack.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

Addicts crowd into an abandoned rail yard office in Mandela.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

A woman, feeling the effects of a hit of crack, exhales in a shantytown set up along the railroad tracks leading into the center of the city.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

Addicts smoke underneath an overpass in Antares, a distant and largely forgotten slum on the outermost limits of Rio.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

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Brazil is dealing with what officials call a crack epidemic, affecting Brazilians of all ages and confounding government efforts to deal with it. Almost a year after a high-profile police effort to clean up Sao Paulo’s cracolandia as part of a revitalization program for the historic center, the outposts remain, but in a number of shifting locations rather than one large one.

Crack is cheap and readily available in Brazil, as is cocaine, the drug from which it is made. Compared with other parts of the world, homeless addicts here can meet their basic needs relatively easily. Some restaurants provide food and water. There is community. And it’s rarely so cold that sleeping outside is intolerable.

As crack has taken hold in Brazil over the last decade, cracolandias have popped up all around the country, from the Amazon jungle in the distant northwest to nearby Rio de Janeiro.

Read the full story “In Brazil’s cracolandias, roving hordes of lost souls

1 Comment

  1. December 23, 2012, 1:42 pm

    to whoever captioned photo #3, "within sight of the olympic stadium" sounds just a tad unsympathetic: ("i'm having a dinner party tonight so it's a shame this odor is lingering")

    By: yoyo

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