Meeting on social integration
and drugs in Latin America.
The Organization of American States’ Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (OAS/CICAD) met at OAS headquarters in Washington, D.C. on August 30 and 31 for the “Meeting on Social Integration and Drugs in Latin America,” as part of a process of developing a reference guide for the development of public policies in this region. This effort, led by the SAVIA (Health and Life in the Americas) Project, is promoted and financed through joint cooperation between the OAS/CICAD and the Government of Spain.
The opening of a line of work addressing social inclusion, within the framework of regional public policies on drugs, requires further investigation and reflection on the reality of social integration and the relationship with the drug phenomenon, on its conceptual bases, and on the existing models and best practices within and outside of the region. It entails opening debate with member states and with institutional actors as well as social ones, in an attempt to define a referential framework for the development of public policies that adequately addresses the consequences on processes of social integration caused by the various connections between individuals, vulnerable groups, local communities, and society as a whole with drugs. This debate aims to generate comprehensive policies and programs that contribute to avoiding the direct linking of the population with the drug phenomenon, and that thus permit a more effective integration of people and communities already linked with this phenomenon.
The meeting entailed discussion of the basic conceptual elements for the development of a proposal addressing social integration in relation with all the forms of linkage between drugs and the people, groups, and communities of Latin America. It also included debate over the consequences a focus on social integration in drug policy will have on the different spheres of public policy, including: health, education, social development, employment, security, and justice. Furthermore, a critical analysis of current policies on drugs through the viewpoint of social integration was carried out, which aimed to define a series of basic principles of action that would facilitate social integration in the region.
As part of the event, different types of activities occurred, including theatrical presentations with social themes that helped facilitate awareness, stimulate debate, and coordinate teamwork.