Juan Forero – The Washington Post, 12/26/2012
Glassy-eyed, rail-thin and filthy, hundreds of addicts emerged from doorways and alleys as dusk came to the once-grand Luz district in the heart of this city.
After quick transactions with crack dealers, they scrambled for a little privacy to light up their pipes and inhale tiny, highly addictive rocks that go for about $5 each. The image was reminiscent of Washington or New York in the 1980s, when crack cocaine engulfed whole neighborhoods and sparked a dizzying cycle of violence.
But this time, the crack epidemic is happening in Brazil, alarming officials and tarnishing the country’s carefully cultivated image ahead of two major sporting events to be staged here: soccer’s 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.