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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Vanda Felbab-Brown and Harold Trinkunas (eds)Brookings Institute
As the world prepares for the 2016 Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS 2016), an increasing number of countries around the world now find the regime’s emphasis on punitive approaches to illicit drugs to be problematic and are asking for reform. In this moment of global disagreement, the Brookings project on Improving Global Drug Policy provides a unique comparative evaluation of the effectiveness and costs of international counternarcotics policies and best approaches to reform.
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Less than eight per cent of drug users worldwide have access to a clean syringe programmeIPS
Thursday, February 26, 2015
As the call for the decriminalisation of drugs steadily picks up steam worldwide, a new study by the London-based charity Health Poverty Action concludes there has been no significant reduction in the global use of illicit drugs since the creation of three key U.N. anti-drug conventions, the first of which came into force over half a century ago. “Illicit drugs are now purer, cheaper, and more widely used than ever,” says the report, titled Casualties of War: How the War on Drugs is Harming the World’s Poorest.
Harold A. Pollack & Peter ReuterAddiction, 109: 1959–1966. doi: 10.1111/add.12497
Although the fact of prohibition itself raises prices far above those likely to pertain in legal markets, there is little evidence that raising the risk of arrest, incarceration or seizure at different levels of the distribution system will raise prices at the targeted level, let alone retail prices. The number of studies available is small; they use a great variety of outcome and input measures and they all face substantial conceptual and empirical problems. Given the high human and economic costs of stringent enforcement measures, particularly incarceration, the lack of evidence that tougher enforcement raises prices call into question the value, at the margin, of stringent supply-side enforcement policies in high-enforcement nations.
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Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP)
The upcoming United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS) in 2016 is an unprecedented opportunity to review and re-direct national drug control policies and the future of the global drug control regime. As diplomats sit down to rethink international and domestic drug policy, they would do well to recall the mandate of the United Nations, not least to ensure security, human rights and development.
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Report of the LSE Expert Group on the Economics of Drug PolicyJohn Collins (ed.)LSE Ideas
The Expert Group on the Economics of Drug Policy was convened to produce the most thorough independent economic analysis of the current international drug control strateg ever conducted. It aims to use this analysis to design a successor strategy to the failed global war on drugs. In so doing it will provide the academic underpinnings for a new international paradigm that promotes human security, public health and sustainable development.
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In an open letter, former Latin American leaders call for legal regulation to help undermine organised crimeGlobal Commission on Drug PolicyThe Guardian (UK)
Saturday, May 18, 2013
After more than four decades of a failed war on drugs, calls for a change in strategy are growing louder by the day. In Latin America, the debate is positively deafening. Statesmen from Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico and Uruguay are taking the lead for transformations in their own drug regime, which has set a strong dynamic of change across the region and around the world. Their discussion has expanded to the US, where public opinion toward regulation is also changing. (See also: Western leaders study 'gamechanging' report on global drugs trade)
Mass criminalisation and punitive sentencing policiesPenal Reform International (PRI)
Criminalisation of drug users, excessive levels of imprisonment, and punitive sentencing practices, including mandatory sentencing, the death penalty and enforced ‘drug detention centres’, are some of the unintended negative consequences of the 50 year ‘war on drugs’, a policy with direct impact on the vulnerable, poor and socially excluded groups, including ethnic minorities and women. This PRI briefing paper discusses these consequences in detail and sets out what parliamentarians can do about it.
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The role of the drugs trade in criminal violence and policy responses in Guatemala, El Salvador and HondurasLiza Ten VeldeTNI Drugs & Conflict Debate Paper 19
Mexico has occupied the limelight when it comes to media attention focusing on drug-related violence in Latin America. However, it is actually Central America's Northern Triangle – consisting of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador – currently experiencing much higher rates of violence and increasing Drug Trafficking Organization (DTOs) activity, thus providing an illustration of the 'balloon effect' previously experienced by Mexico itself after the implementation of Plan Colombia which was conceived at the end of the 90's. Together the countries of the Northern Triangle now form one of the most violent regions on earth.
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Shifts in the Latin American drug policy debateAmira Armenta Pien Metaal Martin JelsmaSeries on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies Nr. 21
Remarkable drug policy developments are taking place in Latin America. This is not only at the level of political debate, but is also reflected in actual legislative changes in a number of countries. All in all there is an undeniable regional trend of moving away from the ‘war on drugs’. This briefing explains the background to the opening of the drug policy debate in the region, summarises the most relevant aspects of the ongoing drug law reforms in some countries, and makes a series of recommendations that could help to move the debate forward in a productive manner.
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