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OAS Anti-Drug Commission Concluded its Biannual Meeting with a Review of Current Policies Implemented in the Region

  May 2, 2014

The Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of the Organization of American States (OAS) concluded on Thursday its 55th Regular Session with a review of current drug policies in the Hemisphere, in compliance with the mandate that the hemispheric institution received from the leaders of the region at the Summit of the Americas in 2012.

The OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, participated in the final session of the three day meeting of CICAD and thanked the commissioners of the 34 member countries for their active participation in the meetings. Secretary General Insulza highlighted the contributions that the hemispheric institution has made to the global drug problem, and called both the Report on the Drug Problem in the Americas (Analytical Report and Scenarios Report), and the Declaration of Antigua Guatemala adopted by all Member States of the OAS at the 2013 General Assembly in in Guatemala, that calls for a Special General Assembly focused on the discussion of the issue, "substantial contributions to the discussions on this topic that are being developed around the world."

Secretary General Insulza said that the conclusions of the Special General Assembly that the OAS will hold on the world drug problem in September in Guatemala "will surely represent a major contribution to the debate on drug policy that the United Nations will undertake in 2016."

For his part, the Executive Secretary of CICAD, Paul Simons, gave a presentation on the implementation of the 2013 Work Plan of the Commission. Ambassador Simons highlighted the main activities carried out by the Commission last year: the 53rd and 54th Sessions which were held in Washington, DC and Bogota; support for Expert Groups; support for the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM); support for Member States through the Inter-American Drugs Observatory; programs to support member countries as they implement the MEM and the National and Hemispheric Drug Control strategies; and the Report on the Drug Problem in the Americas.

The Executive Secretary of CICAD also introduced the Work Plan for 2014, and listed the five program areas in which the work of the Commission will be based: Institutional Strengthening; Demand Reduction; Supply Reduction; Control Measures; and International Cooperation. He reiterated that "all activities and programs will support the Hemispheric Drug Strategy and its Plan of Action."

The Deputy Minister of Public Health and Provision of Services of Colombia, Fernando Ruiz Gómez, whose country holds the CICAD Chair, said that both during the current and the previous sessions, the Commission "has dedicated itself to the discussion of aspects of the drug problem that deserve better and more effective responses from our governments in the field of social policy, in full compliance with the rules of human rights both in the Inter-American and Universal Systems."

Deputy Minister Ruiz Gómez said the 55th CICAD meeting analyzed in particular drug trafficking in small amounts and new regulatory and legal frameworks. "The first conclusion resulting from the discussion is the need to generate knowledge about drug trafficking in small quantities, which has not been studied sufficiently, as a multi-causal, complex and particular phenomenon, which affects all the countries in the hemisphere," he said.

The Colombian authority said that it was evident that it is not possible to bring an end to commerce in small amounts through mere interdiction, and therefore highlighted the importance of acting to reduce the damage generated by micro-trafficking in our societies, without neglecting the fight against criminal groups.
Ruiz Gómez also reported that it was agreed to analyze and systematize alternatives to incarceration, such as drug treatment courts, in order to identify other options for consideration by the states of the Hemisphere. He also indicated that the participants in the meeting agreed to form a working group to address this issue, and that "Colombia is committed to lead the coordination of the Group, to cooperate in the search for viable solutions to this problem."

In addition, at the 55th Regular Session of CICAD participants discussed issues related to the challenges and impacts on the regulation of cannabis, especially the cases of the State of Colorado in the United States, and in Uruguay. The delegation of Bolivia presented a report entitled "A Comprehensive Study of the Coca Leaf" by the Deputy Minister of Social Defense and Controlled Substances, Felipe Caceres. The report points out that consumption of coca leaf in Bolivia "is a cultural issue" and that 30 percent of the Bolivian population-about 3 million people- consume it regularly.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The B-Roll of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-180/14