July 27, 2017  Last Update: December 21, 2016, 11:10 pm

Fire at Drug Rehab “prison” in Lima, Peru

You don’t want to go to Lima, Peru for your drug addiction treatment.

Reports are coming in today of a fire at a drug treatment center in Lima, which is described as more like a prison than a treatment facility. Said to be unlicensed, the religious drug treatment center “Christ is Love” burned yesterday and 26 men were killed. The drug and alcohol treatment center had locked doors, steel bars on windows and doors, and was overcrowded, according to reports.

What sort of quality drug and alcohol addiction treatment did addicts receive at the  “Christ is Love” center? One relative of a resident said the first 3 months of treatment involved mostly reading from the bible. Rumors around the scene of the tragedy include stories of a fight preceding the fire, and a mattress set on fire. All 26 victims are reported to have died from asphyxiation. They could not get out and were overtaken by smoke and fumes.

The center had been shut down twice previously by local health authorities, who also report that they think the owners and managers fled the scene at the time of the fire. They cited the illegal facility for being open, for overcrowding, and for improper management, including leaving residents alone in locked rooms. Fire rescue workers responding to the fire could not open doors to rescue people inside the facility. They chopped their way through walls to open up new exits.

With such a high incidence of co-occurring disorders in addiction, mental challenges (mental illness) are expected, especially in urban and very low income populations. Perhaps the most alarming part of this terrible news report is that the health ministry knew about the facility, and had not taken adequate action to stop it before the tragedy took place.

Video coverage from Reuters:

 

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