By Moonyeen King
President of the Board for Tepehua
Women and Recovery
“Intensified patrol on both sides of the Mexican/USA border make it harder for cartels to get their drugs over, so more narcotics are left on the streets of Mexico, for local consumers.” stated Marcela Lopez Cabrera, Director of Monte Fenix Clinic in Mexico City, where they train drug counselors, most of whom are recovering abusers.
Drug addiction in Mexico has quadrupled since 2000, and in 2008 plans were drawn up for 300 more facilities in and around Mexico City to handle the increase. There has been little progress on that. Although most cities have centers, including Guadalajara, only a few cater to women. Women who abuse sink into a hell of their own making, hard self abuse in prostitution, they resort to everything to feed their habit...leaving their children on the mean streets of the barrios.
This writer visited the CRREAD Institute for men in Santa Cruz, Chapala, (Center of Recovery, Recuperation for Alcoholism and Drug Addiction), programs are aimed at raising the self esteem, and using the Twelve Steps. It is not “hard time”, they are each other’s support and house approx 100 men. They raise money by asking for funds, and working for food. Sorianos supplies them with produce that will not sell in return for the men cleaning their store rooms.
CRREAD’s Director, Gabriel Roman Saldana, himself a recovering addict, who has been clean for eleven years, intends to build a Center in Santa Cruz for women; he recognizes the ever growing need, as more barrio women turn to drugs and alcohol to deaden the misery of poverty, though drug abuse has no socio-economic boundary, two thirds of the women behind local prison bars are generally there for non-violent drug offenses, when they should be in drug rehabilitation where they can get family visits and encouragement, instead of harsh punishment in jail, where they get the same abuse.
Director Gabriel’s secretary, Josue Castillo Angeles, who speaks perfect English, also once an addict, came back to the Center to give the support that once saved his life. That second chance everyone deserves. A Center CRREAD for Women, can be built slowly...adding more wings as the need arises. The men of the CRREAD rehabilitation Center will supply the labor and the maintenance of the women’s center, the Institutes ran separately under the umbrella of CRREAD. There are 25 CRREAD institutes scattered around Mexico but very few catering to women’s needs.
Many of the barrio women are addicted, some introduced to drugs by their husband. If they try to get help they have their children to worry about, they go deeper into dependency so they can function for their children. A center can be set up like a spousal abuse safe-house...a place they can bring children and pets.
Addiction has many stages, some manage to pair their addiction to a regular life, until that gradually starts to change. Women, in general, when they pass that stage, end up on the streets. Drugs of choice usually marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and alcohol. Until in 1994 crystal meth came into the picture, and since 2000, 75 percent of CRREAD inmates were there because of Crystal Meth. It is cheap and easy to get.
The San Diego Reader states ”Rehab Centers in Mexico are in a state of Limbo. While not jails they do keep people in confinement. They are not mental hospitals but they administer drugs. They are not home, but they have home rules and people feel they belong to a large dysfunctional family.”
A gentleman called Julio, addicted since he was 19, has been ‘clean’ for many years...but keeps coming back to CRREAD for support and to give encouragement to the other men, who all live in a flurry of activity, everyone has a job to do. They could use another “holding tank” (the place they dry out in when they first arrive)...the young men have to go in with older men...this is not good, (The cost for an additional wing would be approx. 5,000 USD.) but other than that the institute is very impressive.
Here at Lakeside we have many AA meetings....support groups. I am asking you to visit CRREAD with me, and help fund raising to start the women’s facility. Why are we leaving women behind? Women are the hub of family, the nurturers and mothers of the next generation; they carry the burden of the whole family group. The Tepehua Community Center is going to reach out and extend community help to this project. All of us know how addiction can touch a life, maybe it has touched your life. We can do this. We have the land, we have the labor. All we need are bricks and mortar, the advice of a contractor on size and cost...and the love. This facility can also provide education and trade training, box gardening....endless opportunities for a better life. Change the life of one woman, and you change the life of the entire family.
And the many that will enter the door to recovery.
Contact Moonie if you can help.
MOONYEEN PATRICIA KING
Column: Profiling Tepehua
Settled in Mexico 13 years ago. The intention was to retire into the arts as a writer, poet and painter...that didn’t happen. Beneath the smiles of the peoples of Mexico there was such a great need for change, especially for the women and children of the barrios, Moonyeen has dedicated these years to change the face of this little corner of the world. The work done by the volunteers of the Tepehua Community Center is teaching that change is possible anywhere. Moonyeen was portrayed as “Woman of the Year,” also two Paul Harris Rotary awards for the work done at Tepehua. “Life in Mexico is very fulfilling. The Mexican people give so much more to us immigrants than we can possible return.