June 22, 2001

The Newly Formed "Drug Free-Border Coalition" Seeks Regional Solutions to Drug Abuse

The Drug Free-Border Coalition is a binational organization recently established after a series of addiction prevention workshops were held by organizations from Mexico and the U.S. last November in Calafia, Baja California.

The coalition seeks to unite efforts of different addiction prevention agencies from both countries. Currently, eleven organizations from San Diego and seven from Tijuana comprise this new working group.

Recognizing that the problem of drug addiction along the border is a regional issue that affects both countries the coalition will work to develop regional as well as local strategies to combat drug abuse.

Both San Diego and Tijuana have recently witnessed an alarming increase in drug consumption. A 1998 study estimated that the total cost attributed to substance abuse in San Diego was $1.8 billion, ("Analysis of the Economic Costs of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse in San Diego County," EMT Group, Inc.), yet only two percent of that cost was for drug treatment and prevention.

Tijuana has the highest rate of substance abuse in Mexico, being nearly three times the national average, (Consejo Nacional Contra las Adicciones, 1999.)

Saturday, June 30th, The Drug Free-Border Coalition will hold a press conference to announce it's formation during a celebration of the International Day Against the Abuse and Trafficking of Drugs. The event will be held on both sides of the border at the pedestrian crossing from San Ysidro to Tijuana. Schools children from Tijuana and San Diego will participate as well as representatives from customs and police.

The Border Health Initiative is a member of the coalition and is a program of Project Concern International.

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