Category: World / January 22, 2013 10:30 AM EST
A controversial law allowing for the compulsory treatment of crack-cocaine addicts living on the streets of São Paulo went into effect on Monday (January 21), as Brazil comes to grips with a crack-cocaine epidemic.
From now on, São Paulo's law enforcement agents - together with health workers - will be able to go into the city's various drug zones, using force to take addicts off the streets and put them into treatment.
The issue is highly controversial. Critics say that for any treatment to be successful, drug users must be willing to get treated in the first place.
Supporters of the initiative, however, assure that force will only be used as a last resort and that they will treat drug users as unique individuals.
However radical the initiative might be, for some it is the last hope.
In 2010 the government announced a 250 million dollars anti-crack plan, but it proved ineffective at street level, as drug gangs still hold control over areas where police hasn't been able to get.