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Foreign Policy Magazine article on the crack epidemic in Rio de Janeiro (By Kristina Rosales and Taylor Barnes)

Here’s our latest article on Rio’s crack epidemic…enjoy!


Article on my Fulbright research experience in Rio de Janeiro

Hey everyone,

Here’s a recent article from the Fulbright newsletter regarding my research work on the crack epidemic in Rio de Janeiro: http://newsletter.fulbrightonline.org/newsletter/index.php?id=201



First of many reports on the crack situation in RJ

Hey guys,

Here’s one of the first reflection pieces I have put together on my research work with the crack situation in Rio de Janeiro. I will be posting a few more in the following months as I have the chance to break-down my experience and process all the information I gathered in these past 10 months.
Looking forward to everyones comments and inputs.

Relatorio sobre a problematica do crack no Rio de Janeiro



Obrigada a todos pelas memorias! Thank you to all for these great memories! ;)

After 10 months of research and living experience in Rio de Janeiro, I want to thank everyone (my families, friends, coleagues, etc) that made my experience so unforgettable and beyond amazing. I will always remember!
Promise to be back soon 🙂

Adoro todos vocês!

Presentação sobre a epidemia do crack no Rio de Janeiro


Aqui va o meu trabalho sobre a problematica do crack no RJ (em portugues).
Presentação sobe o Crack no RJ


Research Presentation: Crack Epidemic in Rio de Janeiro

Hey guys,

Here’s my latest presentation on my research work here in Rio. I put this powerpoint together to show a bit about what’s going on with the crack epidemic in RJ as well as present my experience working and living here. Take a look-

Crack Epidemic Presentation (PDF)

Last post coming up soon!

Beijos to all,

OXI-The “new” drug roaming around Brazil

For the past few weeks, the media not only in Rio de Janeiro but also around Brazil, has been concentrating on the introduction of a “new” drug called Oxi. The drug which is very similar to crack but 40% stronger and much cheaper (going for R$2 versus crack for R$10), is rapidly taking over several cracolandias and has already set foot in Rio.

Here are some articles of interest:



Latest headlines on the crack situation in Rio de Janeiro

Here are a few links to articles on the latest police activities “against” crack use in specific areas around Rio de Janeiro. Please note that as in other cities in Brazil such as Sao Paulo and abroad, repressive police actions against crack users have not been helpful neither effective in combating this epidemic.

Operation against crack use in RJ-

Crack operation in Madureira-

What takes place when crack users are forced to get assistance-

Increase in amount of crack apprehended in Rio-

Time to wrap up…

Hey everyone,

Hope all of you had a great Easter. I can’t believe it is already May and my time here in Rio is coming to an end 😦 Since I am already on the final phase of my project, I wanted to update everyone on what I will be doing these next two months as well as tell you about the work I have been developing since I last posted here.

After my post in March regarding President Obama’s event in Rio, I have been finalizing the last steps of my research with a few interviews, visits to drug-treatment centers and meetings with State and Municipal government agencies dealing with the epidemic of crack here. In the last two weeks, I began to slowly put my experience together on paper for publishing and presentation purposes. It has been a challenge as it seems I always have another interview or field visit to make..but I am sure sooner or later I will get everything together. At the same time, I am putting together a database on the different institutions, organizations and entities that are developing a research project centered on the issue of crack in Rio. This database will be released to Rio’s State Secretary for Social Assistance and Human Rights to specifically allow more communication among the various groups conducting some type of work on the topic as well as better inform Rio’s government on the different initiatives taking place on the field. In order to track the various projects and to further get a sense on the development of crack in Rio, I have kept a timeline from the introduction of the drug in the city until today, including some important components I was able to collect from working at the cracolandias in the communities of Jacarezinho and Manguinhos in Rio. Here are some pictures of my board and materials I have collected.

Beyond finalizing my project, I have been in the talks of conducting a survey project in the community of Manguinhos (one of the favelas with a cracolandia) to understand the perception of residents to public security, development and drug trafficking. I will eventually post more information about this upcoming project as the plan is developed. I will also be posting any publishings or articles I write or collaborate on regarding the crack problematic within these next two months. Make sure everyone keeps an eye here! 🙂

With these final months coming ahead, I am also starting to prepare for my Master’s in Columbia and later at FGV in Sao Paulo. I am so far hopping to elaborate a similar project in Sao Paulo, when I return next year, to examine the situation in the cracolandia there and compare the political and social approaches implemented there to those here in Rio. Before such opportunity though, I will be traveling to Sao Paulo later this June to present my research findings to the group “E de Lei” which has conducted significant research and field work in the cracolandia taking over Sao Paulo’s centro.

I will keep everyone informed on the results of this trip as well as any others I might make to present the research results.

Stay tuned and I will be back to write more fairly soon!

Beijos to all,

Rio in overdose with Obama’s visit

Hey guys,

I am back on the blog to tell you a little bit about my most recent experiences here in Rio. I have been quite busy (as usual) hehe this past month, although with Carnaval early in March, things did come to a hault, but we are now finally back to our regular schedules.

Since the last time I wrote here, many things took place in Rio as well as with my research and cultural experience. In late February I traveled to São Paulo for the Fulbright orientation and to see the situation with crack abuse in that particular city. It was an eye-opening experience to walk through the cracolandia in the center of São Paulo and be able to observe the similarities but mainly differences in comparison the cracolandias here in Rio. I had a chance to speak with one specialist who has been working on the field for several years..his observations and pointers on how the cracolandia has evolved in SP for the past 10 years further drew my attention to continue my research in São Paulo when I return next year for my Master’s at FGV. It was quite surprising to see the freedom with which these drug users move around the center of the city and have no drug-trafficking parameters..a phenomena you strictly see in Rio. At some point I wondered how much the cracolandia in RJ can be influenced by the on in SP..especially after some never-before-seen behaviors were observed in the cracolandia here in Jacarezinho and Manguinhos (Zona Norte of Rio de Janeiro).

Upon my return from São Paulo, Carnaval came around 🙂 As I had mentioned in an earlier post, I had been preparing to parade for one of the Samba schools here in Rio, Unidos da Tijuca. It was beyond an amazing experience taking part of such a large and great production. It was almost unbelievable being in one of those parade cars entering the Sapucai (where the samba parade takes place). Although we did not win first place, many people have criticized the decision of the judges to award Beija Flor (the school who won first place). Apparently, they got crowned simply because their theme featured the singer Roberto Carlos..a favorite of the media station who control Rio, TV Globo. Humm..it seems these irregularities are not proper to politics and the police in this city.
Here’s a picture of myself with the group. Our car theme was Harry Potter..since the theme of the school sought to portray movies that scare and amaze Brazilians.

Once Carnaval is over..it seems many people in Rio have a hard time realizing it is finally time to work. Many even say new years in Rio begins after Carnaval and not on January 1st. With the festivities out of the way (not really..since my Bday happened to fall on the week after Carnaval), I went back to the field in Jacarezinho and Manguinhos to work with the Ta ligado? project distributing health packages and talking with crack users. I decided to mark my last three weeks of March as “field weeks”, where I spend 2-3 times a week going to the cracolandia, so by the time April comes, I can sit down to write and process my experience. I have been working since last week in these two places..distributing condoms, talking with users about their situation and their needs, as well mapping the changes that have been taking place. As I mentioned before in this post, for the first time in Rio, the users in these cracolandias are changing their drug-using habits for the better. It is a phenomena that apparently came from out-of-Rio users in these two communities and that has influenced people in the cracolandia to be more careful with their drug consumption (crack users are starting to smoke using “cachimbos” or pipes rather than the plastic water cups, which they share, and transmit tuberculoses and other diseases).

While my Bday came by last March 16th.. I took a brief break to celebrate with my friends in Rio and to catch up with the long awaited vist of President Obama here. As some of you know, President Obama was here in Brazil (Brasilia and Rio) visiting for the first time. He took the time to stop by Rio, visit a UPP community (Cidade de Deus) and give a speech to a group of invitees in the Teatro Municipal. Apparently the trip was a success and allowed for some broken strings between the US and Brazil to be somewhat fixed.

Here are some pictures of Obama giving his speech at the Teatro Municipal here in Rio as well as a group shot of the Fulbrighters at the event.

Just to tell you guys a bit about my plans for the next few weeks..I will be finishing my work on the field (in Jacarezinho and Manguinhos) while also spending some significant time observing what’s taking place with the drug trafficking movement in Complexo do Alemao. Once April comes around, I will start putting all my experiences and opinions on the crack situation in Rio on paper. I am looking to publishing some of this writing..so I will keep this blog up-to-date once that time comes.

Will be back soon!

Beijos to all,