Latin America has emerged at the vanguard of efforts to promote debate on drug policy reform. For decades, Latin American governments largely followed the drug control policies and programmes of Washington’s so-called war on drugs. Growing frustration with the failure of the prohibitionist drug control model put forward by the US government has led to a review of policies and a questioning of the underlining premises of the international drug control paradigm. The call for debate on alternative approaches has had repercussions internationally.
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New studies reveal increase in incarceration for drug offenses in the AmericasResearch Consortium on Drugs and the Law (CEDD)
The Research Consortium on Drugs and the Law (Colectivo de Estudios Drogas y Derecho, CEDD) released a series of new studies showing that despite the current debate in Latin America on the need to rethink drug policy, mass incarceration for nonviolent drug offenses has increased across the region. The five thematic reports analyze the gap between discourse and reality, the criminalization of consumption, alternatives to incarceration, women imprisoned for drug offenses, and minors imprisoned for drugs in Latin America.
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Highlights a growing movement in Latin AmericaCouncil on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA)
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
With its proposed changes to Ley 20.000 (Law 20,000), Chile joins a growing list of Latin American countries decriminalizing marijuana. The initiative, which would grant Chileans the right to possess up to 10 grams of cannabis and grow up to six marijuana plants, was passed in Chile’s Chamber of Deputies on July 7 with 68 voting in favor and 39 against. The bill must first be adjusted by a health commission and then passed by the Senate before it officially becomes law, but strong support for cannabis legalization in the country illustrates that legalizing marijuana use appears to be the new norm in the Western Hemisphere.
In recent years, the Americas have been at the forefront of calls for a meaningful review of traditional approaches to drug control based on tough law enforcement and incarceration. The region has borne many of the costs of this approach, including enduring prison overcrowding, violence, and the proliferation of organised criminal organisations. Past policies have caused considerable health and social harms as well. Forced crop eradication programmes have only contributed to cycles of poverty and punitive responses to drug consumption have expanded in lieu of public health approaches.READ MORE...
At its XLVI Special Session in Guatemala, the OAS General Assembly adopts resolution on the drugs problem in the AmericasOrganization of American States, Guatemala
Friday, September 19, 2014
The Organization of American States (OAS) adopted by acclamation a resolution that underscores "the importance of hemispheric and international cooperation to jointly tackling the world drug problem, by promoting and strengthening comprehensive policies and, where appropriate, the modernization and professionalization of government institutions."READ MORE...
International Press Service (IPS)
Friday, September 5, 2014
Poor young men, slumdwellers and single mothers are hurt the most by anti-drug policies in Latin America, according to representatives of governments, social organisations and multilateral bodies meeting at the Fifth Latin American Conference on Drug Policies held in San José, Costa Rica. Activists, experts and decision-makers from throughout the region demanded reforms of these policies, to ease the pressure on vulnerable groups and shift the focus of law enforcement measures to those who benefit the most from the drug trade.
Heather Haase Coletta YoungersMonday, September 30, 2013
At the annual UN General Assembly meeting held in New York, presidents from around the world have the chance to state their views on the key international issues of the day. Not surprisingly, the crisis in Syria, Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and the Millennium Development Goals took center stage this year. Yet a careful viewing of the speeches of the Latin American presidents illustrates the growing voice of Latin American leaders calling for meaningful reform of drug control policies.READ MORE...
Coletta YoungersIDPC Briefing Paper
At the root of the drug policy debate in Latin America is growing recognition that present policies have failed to achieve the desired objectives, the extremely high costs of implementing those policies paid by Latin American countries, and the need to place higher priority on reducing unacceptably high levels of violence. Of particular concern is the spread of organized crime and the resulting violence, corruption and erosion of democratic institutions.
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The OAS Reports on Hemispheric Drug PolicyColetta YoungersIDPC Advocacy Note
In April 2012, most of the hemisphere’s presidents gathered at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia and held a closed-door meeting where drug policy was the only topic discussed. Following that meeting, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced that the Organisation of American States (OAS) was being tasked to analyse the results of hemispheric drug policies and to “explore new approaches to strengthen this struggle and become more effective”. Thus began a one year process led by OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, with the support of OAS staff from the Secretariat for Multidimensional Security and the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), as well as a range of independent experts.
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The objective of the reports is to find a better way to address the challenges posed by illicit drugs
On May 17, 2013, the Secretary General of the Organisation of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, met with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to share the results of the hemispheric review of drug policies. This task was entrusted to him by the Heads of States of the Americas at the Sixth Americas Summit held in April 2012 in Cartagena, Colombia.READ MORE...
Coletta YoungersIDPC briefing paper
Latin America has emerged at the vanguard of efforts to promote debate on drug policy reform. For decades, Latin American governments largely followed the drug control policies and programs of Washington’s so-called war on drugs. Yet two parallel trends have resulted in a dramatic change in course: the emergence of left-wing governments that have challenged Washington’s historic patterns of unilateralism and interventionism and growing frustration with the failure of the prohibitionist drug control model put forward by the US government.
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