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OAS Presents Report on Evaluation of Drug Policies in the Countries of the Hemisphere

  May 1, 2015

The Organization of American States (OAS) today presented the 2013-2014 Report of the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM), an analysis of drug policies of the member states that highlights the high level of compliance in general with the recommendations of the 2011-2015 Plan of Action of the 2010 Hemispheric Drug Strategy. The presentation took place in the context of the 57th Regular Session of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) in Washington, DC, that concludes today.

The Report, covering the period from 2013 to mid-2014, presents the results of the Sixth Evaluation Round of the MEM, which is the instrument used by the OAS to measure the progress of actions taken by the member states to address the drug problem in the Hemisphere. The evaluation is based on information provided by the countries, reviewed and analyzed by the 34 experts of the Governmental Expert Group (GEG), with the exception of their own national report. The national reports are available here. The experts took 27 of the recommendations from the Plan of Action, transformed them into measurable criteria for evaluation and divided them into five thematic groups: institutional strengthening, demand reduction, supply reduction, control measures, and international cooperation.

Among the main findings of the report it is notable that 41% of the 27 recommendations of the Plan of Action are completed, 22% mostly completed, and 15% partially completed. 14% of the recommendations were categorized as “not applicable,” in that the recommendations referred to illicit crops that cannot be completed by countries that do not have significant illicit crops.


In the area of institutional strengthening, the report notes that 27 of the 34 countries have national drug authorities coordinating national drug policies, and 24 countries have plans or strategies covering all key areas. 15 countries have carried out studies on the economic and social cost of drugs in the last ten years, but 20 countries do not have relevant data on the magnitude of drug use in their population.

In terms of demand reduction, 23 countries have comprehensive demand reduction plans to address this challenge. But only 11 countries have drug use prevention programs, differentiated according to the risk factors involved, and 17 countries still do not have an accreditation process for their treatment centers.

On supply reduction, the nine countries that have significant illicit crops are developing and implementing illicit crop eradication measures. Of the nine countries, four do not promote research or studies on the environmental impact of drugs.

In the area of control measures, the report notes that the 34 member states have Financial Intelligence Units as required by international instruments, 26 countries have mechanisms to emit and respond to pre-export notifications for controlled chemical substances, but eight of them have not completed implemented the operation of this mechanism. Another challenge in this area is that 25 of the countries do not have a national early warning system on new behaviors of criminal organizations involved in drug trafficking.

Finally, in terms of international cooperation, 31 countries have legal provisions for the provision of reciprocal judicial assistance to third party states in drug trafficking and money laundering cases. Moreover, all the countries have measures authorizing the confiscation of proceeds derived from drug trafficking.

The Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, said “the Hemispheric Report on the MEM is one of the innovative elements that will contribute to the special meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Drugs in 2016 (UNGASS), in that it includes important findings of the member states in the areas of institutional strengthening, demand and supply reduction, control measures, and international cooperation.” “With reports like this, one again we see that inter-pares evaluation mechanisms, and the MEM in particular, are extremely valuable and appropriate tools for the idiosyncrasy of cooperation in political matters in our Hemisphere,” he added.

For his part, the Executive Secretary of CICAD, Paul Simons, emphasized that “this Report represents a general vision of the results of the implementation of the 2011-2015 Plan of Action of the Hemispheric Strategy on Drugs by the countries, and contributes important indicators in the areas that need greater attention in order to advance in the development of effective policies throughout the Hemisphere. Moreover, it will be a vital input in the preparation of the 2016-2020 Plan of Action, already being worked on by member states.”

Upon presenting the Report, the Adjunct Coordinator of the Group of Governmental Experts and national expert of Costa Rica to the group, Emilia Ramírez Alfaro, expressed her conviction that “the methodology developed by the MEM and applied in this Sixth Round of Evaluation has worked well, and these reports will serve as a guide to member states to continue developing policies and programs to address the problem of drugs in the Americas.” The report, added Ramírez Alfaro, “reflects the main achievements and challenges they face to continue strengthening the development of the politics and programs of drug control in the region.”

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-161/15