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Delgado addresses drug addict traffic

delgado-addictsIn the past decade, thousands of drug addicts from Puerto Rico came to the U.S. seeking treatment for their addictions, hundreds of them arriving in Chicago – but not of their own volition. These men and women are put on flights with one-way tickets and the promise of world-class rehabilitation centers awaiting them. When they arrive, they are being sent to abandoned houses to live with other addicts and are forced to rely on unlicensed rehabilitation facilities for help.

According to media reports, police and municipal authorities in Puerto Rico are sending their addicts here, many of which suffer from serious health problems in addition to their addictions.

WBEZ Chicago Public Radio recently shed light on the situation, speaking with dozens of homeless Puerto Rican addicts and flying to Puerto Rico to question mayors, police, governors and state program directors. Officials there didn’t deny that addicts are being sent here with no official connections or referrals to rehab facilities.

Senator William Delgado is responding: he is organizing community stakeholders in Chicago who are familiar with the sensitive situation. He has reached out to government officials in Puerto Rico in an effort to bridge their communications with organizations in Chicago. He was interviewed by Telemundo Chicago television network and toured a local, unlicensed rehab facility where former addicts support current addicts as volunteers. His desire is to find suitable places for these men and women to receive professional rehab services, and to establish a registration system by which they could be accounted for by both the Puerto Rican and Chicago governments.

“I want to open a direct line of communication between Puerto Rico and Chicago so that this situation can be addressed on both fronts," Delgado said. "These men and women truly need rehabilitation services to help them live a life free of addiction and reliance on drugs. We can’t turn our backs and force them to find help on their own."

WBEZ: Puerto Rico exports its addicts to Chicago

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