64th CICAD Meeting at the OAS

Dianova joined OAS member states, NGOs, academics and experts on drug policy and addiction prevention and treatment at the 64th Session of the CICAD in Washington

Saionara König-Reis CICAD

At the CICAD meeting, Saionara König-Reis took the floor on behalf of civil society to make a number of recommendations and highlight some of Dianova’s best practices in Chile and Uruguay

By Saionara König-Reis – The Sixty-fourth Regular Session of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) took place in Washington, D.C., United States, on November 19, 20 and 21. The meeting, which takes place twice every year, gathered member states of the Organization of American States (OAS), academics, experts and non-governmental organizations working in the field of drug policy, prevention and treatment. Dianova International attended the meeting and presented an oral statement with recommendations for the CICAD processes, highlighting some best practices on gender perspective in drug treatment from our programs in Chile and Uruguay.

The 64th CICAD discussed striking issues for the context in the region and also in connection with key international processes, such as the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on drugs (UNGASS 2016) and the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). One highlight in member state’s discussions was the proposed framework for the expansion of the concept of “Comprehensive and Sustainable Alternative Development” in the Americas, proposed by the respective Group of Experts led by Mexico. After two years of work, the Expert Group proposed a more progressive framework for the region than what has been approved at UNGASS 2016. The aim was to include a more social, multi-sectorial and multi-dimensional approach to activities affecting populations involved with the production of illicit substance, to fully understand their reality and provide them with sustainable and adequate opportunities. Having found resistance in the room, the proposal was not yet approved but the discussions on the subject will continue.

Rethinking Prevention and Treatment Efforts

Another point of high relevance came with Marya Hynes’ presentation of a sneak peak into the 2019 Report on Drug Use in the Americas, which is the third of its kind in the Hemisphere. Among other things, she called the attention to the new trends of drug use, which shows a decrease in the use of tobacco and alcohol but an increase in marijuana and cocaine in many countries in the region. A low perception of the risks, together with a high perception of ease access to the substances was indicated as some of the reasons for the phenomenon. Also interesting to observe that the use of substances by sex is getting more similar over time, although with considerably different patterns in the substances consumed by each group. This raises an alert for policy-makers not only for the need to provide adequate treatment and harm reduction options for all genders, but also to rethink their approaches in preventive efforts.

Finally, she pointed out that the lack of consistent, long-term, and disaggregated data throughout the Hemisphere generates some shortcomings in the analyses of national and regional trends. Reversing this trend is of utmost importance to provide a solid basis for policy making.

In the course of the three-day meeting, participants also presented on national drug strategies and implementation aspects at national and subnational levels; discussed challenges and best practices of issues related to micro-trafficking in the region; highlighted the role of university in supporting national drug commissions; addressed gender perspective in the design and implementation of drug policies and programs; and examined the situation of access to different social services, in particular health care, for people who use drugs and live with HIV. In addition, civil society had the opportunity to lead on and integrate a panel that discussed the perspectives of representatives of NGOs and Research Institutes on the challenges and opportunities for the implementation of a health and human rights-based approach to drug policies and services.