Noting that the use and abuse of addictive substances is a public health problem, a disease that destroys people, harms the family environment and damages the social fabric, the president explained that in ENFA, which is part of the Program for Addiction Prevention and Care presented last January, the armed forces will, “Not only continue to work for domestic security, to support all the actions that allow us to achieve a Mexico with peace and tranquility,” but will now also be incorporated into the prevention of addictions.

The president pointed out that with the technical support of the National Commission against Addictions, those involved in the National Military Service of the Armed Forces will participate in addiction prevention, “So that Mexican society is better informed, and more aware of the risks of using a toxic substance or drug that endangers their lives and home environment.”

He added that, “They will take part in the promotion work already undertaken by 116 Youth Integration Centers and 338 Primary Care Centers for Addictions and Specialized Medical Care Units.”

In short, he added, “We are multiplying and expanding the efforts by both civil society organizations, the federal government and state governments to prevent addictions”.

He said that as with other diseases, the best way to deal with addictions is preventive, rather than corrective. “Although correction is required, the most important thing is prevention,” he explained.

President Peña Nieto said that with patriotism and dedication, soldiers and marines, members of the National Military Service, the Health Platoons of the Battalions, students and graduates of the School of Military and Naval Education and civil promoters and volunteers will visit rural communities, neighborhoods and districts to undertake work to prevent addictions.

“In short, Mexico will have a large army of prevention,” he said.

He said that the goal for 2018 is to have trained over 770,000 promoters. This will allow us to reach a target of at least 7.7 million people throughout the country. Through prevention, we will deal with this threat and prevent this disease from putting an end to the dreams of young people and families.”

The president said that next year, “We will actively participate in the special session convened by the United Nations to review the global drug problem.”

He said that figures from the surveys undertaken of middle and high school students, “Prove, first of all, that there are growing levels of use among young people at these educational levels, at this stage of their lives while on the other hand, the same surveys show that a high percentage, almost eight out of 10 young people, when asked about whether they have ever used drugs, say that they are aware that using them harms their health and constitutes a great risk, which is why there is a need to give Mexican society more information.”

Therefore, he said, “I am convinced that in the effort we are making today, the participation of our Armed Forces in this task to prevent addiction will yield very positive results for Mexico.”

The president noted that, “As president and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, I would once again like to express my gratitude to the soldiers on land, sea and air, for their determination and results in the fight against this social scourge,” which are drugs and addictions.

He declared that, “The joint action of the Armed Forces, the Federal Police, the PGR and the CISEN have been instrumental in reducing violence and restoring the tranquility of Mexican families, as borne out by the data released yesterday by INEGI , an autonomous entity of the Mexican government that produces indicators for making public policy decisions that will enable the country to advance towards scenarios of greater progress and further development.”

The president added that yesterday, it was announced that the homicide rate recorded in 2014 was 16.4 per 100,000 inhabitants, “An improvement of 26 percent over the rate that existed when I took office in 2012, which was 22.2 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.”

He stressed that this, “Is perhaps the most important parameter for measuring the security conditions of any country, state or city. The number of murders committed per 100,000 inhabitants is one of the most important indicators for determining the peace conditions that exist in a society”.

He said that it is very encouraging that this figure is showing a clear downward trend, and that this is a commitment, “To continue working in close coordination with the government agencies involved in public security, with the states so that, by making a common front, as we have done, we will continue to lower the rates of insecurity in the country and attain the objective and purpose we have set out to achieve: a Mexico of peace and tranquility for Mexican society.”

CONTRIBUTING TO THE LOFTIEST CAUSES OF THE NATION IS A COMMITMENT OF THE ARMED FORCES: ADMIRAL SOBERÓN SANZ

Admiral Vidal Francisco Soberón Sanz, Secretary of the Navy, said that, “Contributing to the loftiest causes of the nation is a commitment of the Mexican Armed Forces; a goal that allows us soldiers and sailors to join us with concrete actions for the benefit society in general and the youth and children of our country in particular.”

Moreover, he said, this is, “A joint desire by government institutions to offer all Mexicans a better future”.

He said that, “Having a society free of addictions contributes to strengthening our nation,” which is why, he said, “Addressing this phenomenon in a comprehensive way means fighting those who threaten the health of our children and youth".

He explained that the collaboration bases signed by the Secretaries of the Navy, National Defense and Health in the presence of President Enrique Peña Nieto, will make it possible to jointly address the challenge posed by addictions in Mexico.

He noted that this agreement and the programs that will be implemented by the Secretariat of Health and the Armed Forces, “Will contribute to the dissemination and promotion of preventive measures in this national effort against addictions”.

This, he said, will provide, “A comprehensive strategy that will allow us to establish a central addiction prevention program, a national effort that has the commitment of the government’s agencies".

He explained that this is, “A strategy led by the president, which the Mexican Armed Forces endorse with conviction to create greater social union based on family life and the strengthening of the detection, treatment and prevention of addictions”.

He considered that, “The union of wills between society and government will bring this great ship called Mexico to safe harbor".

JOINT ACTIONS AND COMBINED EFFORTS ARE CRUCIAL TO ELIMINATING ADDICTIONS: MERCEDES JUAN

After praising the important and noble work of the Army and Navy, Health Secretary Mercedes Juan López told President Enrique Peña Nieto that joint actions, the sum of efforts and the creation of synergies, “Are key factors in closing off the path of addiction, so that, as you have pointed out, our children and adolescents will not reduce their opportunities for a better future”.

She said that, “The valuable participation of members of the Armed Forces, whom I thank once again, will strengthen addiction prevent programs for the benefit of children and young people".

In Mexico, she explained, according to the National Survey on Drug Use in Students, undertaken by the Dr. Ramón de la Fuente Muñiz National Institute of Psychiatry, with support from the Secretariat of Education, most students have not used drugs, “Which gives us an important window of opportunity for prevention.” According to the survey, she said, 17.2 percent of middle and high school students have used illegal drugs at some time in their lives.

She said that, “Drug use sometimes begins at the age of 12, while the growing tendency to use alcohol and tobacco among women is a serious concern for the government and society as a whole”.

She announced that due to the cooperation bases signed, next Saturday will mark the simultaneous start of the National Effort Against Addictions in the 190 National Military Service Training Centers, where 43,000 soldiers and marine will participate in a workshop on the risks and consequences of drug use, among many other actions included in the document.

Mercedes Juan López announced that next year, at the UN General Assembly, in a special session on drug use, Mexico will have the opportunity to present the new model of a comprehensive public health approach in its drug policy, encompassing prevention, treatment, recovery and rehabilitation and social reintegration activities.

PREVENTION INVOLVES THE THREE LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT: MONDRAGÓN Y KALB

Manuel Mondragón y Kalb, Head of the National Commission against Addictions (CONADIC), told President Enrique Peña Nieto that, as a result of his administration’s guidelines, a clear government policy was established for the prevention of addictions to ensure, both efficiently and continuously, the achievement of the results, tasks and efforts implemented by the three levels of government and society".

Mondragon y Kalb stated that, “Your instructions are being followed. Your concern about the problem of psychoactive substances and the damage they cause people and their environment, the reduction in the starting age of both legal and illegal drugs, all lead us to prioritize the task of prevention within a joint effort by government and citizens”.

The National Commission against Addictions declared that, “The efforts are on the right track. Today, we continue closing ranks with you. With you and your government policies, to share your unwavering purpose of achieving a better country for all Mexicans".

He reported that CONADIC is visiting states so that together with governors and mayors, “We will promote the creation or restoration of the State and Municipal Committees on Addictions".

He added that, in accordance with the instructions of President Peña Nieto, the following programs are to be implemented throughout the country: Don’t Drink and Drive and One Hundred Percent Smoke-Free Closed Spaces, in addition to reinforcing the actions of prevention, treatment, research and training corresponding to the different regions in our country.

In addition, he said, “We are working closely and undertaking joint actions with private, academic, business and media organizations and those with a high level of civic representation”.

“We wish that there were no addicts, that there were no sick people, that young people would not be attracted to the drugs that degrade, destroy and make the future of many a denial of the future. But since this is impossible, let us pour imagination, effort and technology into reducing and solving the problem. The national effort to cope with addictions will therefore now include soldiers and marines completing their National Military Service, staff comprising the armed forces and volunteers, who today begin their invaluable participation,” he said.