Merida, January 3rd, 2010 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela’s National Anti-drug Office (ONA) confiscated over 60 tonnes of drugs in 2009, the organisation’s director, Nestor Reverol, informed the press. He said the figure was an increase from the 54 tonnes confiscated in 2008.
Reverol said that hundreds of communities across the country have received training to prevent increased drug consumption, and that almost 600 schools have implemented drug prevention policies. They also carried out a study in the schools which found that 0.6% of students consume cocaine, 0.4% heroine, and 1.7% marihuana.
ONA has 120 special vehicles that travel the country, mostly to rural or isolated areas, promoting drug prevention. The ONA recuperated these vehicles while capturing drugs in 2009 and is re-using them.
The government also invested $260 million in 10 radars for detecting air space violation, mainly by planes transporting drugs.
“We managed to exchange [the radars] with China because before we only had five radars, which were from the United States, and after the coup d’etat in April 2002 they took three of them and the remaining two wouldn’t send information,” Reverol said.
He said in 2010 they want to “multiply” their efforts, particularly by strengthening security at the main ports and airports of the country.
Despite being situated on the border of one of the major drug producing countries, Colombia, “the government doesn’t rest in its struggle against illegal substances,” and will create the National Anti-drug Fund, which will receive contributions from both private and public companies who have over 50 workers, he said. The fund will be launched tomorrow.
Finally, the ONA estimates that it will train 5 million people in preventing drug consumption, by 2013, as part of the plan called Integral Prevention Plan Planting Values for Life 2009-2013. So far, “we have held 383 actions, including meetings and conferences, which have had an impact on over 43,000 people,” Reverol said, and they have also trained 100,000 people from different communities, to spread the message of drug prevention.
Venezuela cut off anti-drug collaboration with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in 2005 on allegations that the DEA was spying.