California officials have adopted the idea of fotonovelas, small picture books popular in Mexico, in trying to persuade immigrant laborers to resist the methamphetamine trade, the Associated Press reports. Thousands in the broad agricultural swath that runs up the middle of the state have read the story of Jose, a farmworker who endangers his family by working for a drug ring. The story, “No Vale La Pena,” or “It's Not Worth It,” has inspired a Spanish-language film. Community leaders in Merced, 130 miles southeast of San Francisco, saw the concept as an effective way to reach immigrant workers.
California’s Central Valley is a primary distribution point for methamphetamine, says the U.S. Justice Department. Mexican drug cartels have begun to dominate trade in the area. The first run of the book, 15,000 copies, was soon exhausted, said Ben Duran, the president of Merced College, who helped create it using donations. More were printed, and it is available at many supermarkets catering to Hispanics.