OAS Meeting on Drug Policies in Latin America

Among other elements, the meeting emphasized regional efforts to implement and follow up on the recommendations of the UNGASS 2016


Dianova is concerned regarding the continued violation of Human Rights of drug users in the region, and calls upon CICAD to tackle this problem at its roots.

From May 8 to 10, the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) held the Sixty-fifth Regular Session Period. The organization was in charge of the Argentine Government and the event took place in the Palacio San Martin in the City of Buenos Aires. Dianova was represented by Jordi Alós, Director of Dianova Uruguay.

The First Plenary Session emphasized the usefulness of the current Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism and the national reports presented, as well as the regional efforts to implement and follow up of the UNGASS 2016 recommendations. The Report on Drug Use in the Americas 2019 was also presented.

The other plenary sessions had the following topics as focal points:

  • Measures to strengthen strategies/actions on drugs: forfeiture, administration of confiscated assets and other mechanisms
  • Local focus on drug use prevention programs
  • The new dynamics and challenges of drug trafficking in the Americas, including the use of the Internet, seaports and postal systems
  • Scientific evidence for the use of medicines based on cannabinoids
  • Innovative answers for emerging trends in the region
  • Local interventions from civil society with people who use drugs: challenges and lessons learned.

Other presentations addressed various issues such as alternatives to incarceration and legislative responses in the face of the proliferation of New Psychoactive Substances in the Region.

Despite the diversity and heterogeneity of positions and methodologies to face the problem posed by drugs, a good alignment of policies could be observed in aspects related to forfeiture[1]  and shared strategies, such as the validity and usefulness of Drug Observatories and the coordination in relation to operations against drug trafficking.

The severity of some drug laws still allows for the application of disproportionate sanctions and the incarceration of thousands of people. The problem of the imprisonment of women for drug-related offenses is of particular concern. In Latin America, the female prison population practically doubled between 2006 and 2011, from 40,000 to more than 74,000, the majority linked to drug-related minor offenses, with devastating impacts for the detainees, their children, families and communities[2].

Dianova is concerned regarding the continued violation of Human Rights of drug users in the region, and calls upon CICAD to tackle this problem at its roots.

[1] In rem forfeiture is a term used in several Latin American countries to refer to a particular form in which the State takes away a person’s ownership of certain assets related to a crime (for example, money collected from the sale of the cocaine, or the cars used to move the drug)

[2] Corina Giacomello, “Women, Drug Offenses and Penitentiary Systems in Latin America,” International Drug Policy Consortium, Oct. 2013.