Thursday, July 18, 2024

Deputy Health Minister López-Gatell will be new addiction “czar”

Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell has today been announced as the new addiction prevention “czar” by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

“Dr. Hugo López-Gatell will be with us every Tuesday,” the president announced during his mañanera, or morning press conference. The deputy minister rose to prominence when he was designated as the spokesperson for the Ministry of Health during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The new campaign will look to highlight the dangers of drug use, with compulsory classes in high schools. (SEP)

The president explained that López-Gatell will report on the new government addiction prevention campaign, which was also announced during the conference. Working with the Ministry of Public Education (SEP), the government is seeking to launch a public awareness campaign about the dangers of drug addiction. It will begin April 17.

The plan is to discuss the topic for at least 15 minutes, three times per week in high school and middle school classrooms, reaching 12 million students in classes ranging from civics and ethics to biology and health. Educators will receive a teaching guide with the program’s key concepts and materials.

In addition, the government will create short 30–60-second educational videos about the dangers of various drugs to be played on TV and social media. 

Studies have suggested that many Mexicans first experiment with drug use around 13 years of age. 

Using the tagline “If you take drugs, you will be damaged,” SEP hopes to reduce the number of synthetic drugs — such as methamphetamine and fentanyl — that are being consumed in Mexico.

Aside from drugs, the dangers of smoking, vaping and drinking will also be highlighted.

Students will be required to take examinations during workshops with titles such as; “Fentanyl: it will kill you the first time!” “Vaping: is it really toxic?,” and “Benzodiazepines: not a game!”

Mexico has come under increasing pressure from the United States to clamp down on the flow of drugs across the border. 

The campaign will begin on April 17, according to SEP.

With reports from Aristegui Noticias and Infobae

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