It is jarringly fitting that the United Nations has declared June 26 the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, as well as the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.  Why? Because attempts to deal with drug use and trafficking through the “war on drugs” has shockingly increased the number of victims of torture
in Mexico and throughout Latin America.

Kidnappings, beatings, isolation, chaining, rape and experimental treatments are just some of the abuses employed in the name of “treatment” for people who use drugs. Though human rights groups have criticized these practices, and while evidence-­‐based treatment for drug dependence is clear and includes an array of voluntary and community-­‐based services, most of what passes for treatment in countries in Latin America is based on detention and abuse.

While attention from United Nations torture experts has helped to highlight this issue, the problem shouldn’t be relegated to occasional reports. Torture in the name of treatment matters to us all.

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