Media Center

Press Release

CICAD Begins Debate on the Report on the Drug Problem in the Americas

  May 21, 2013

The Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of the Organization of American States (OAS) today began debate on the Report on the Problem of Drugs in the Americas (Analytical Report - Scenarios Report) recently delivered by the OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, with a panel discussion to launch its 53rd Regular Session on the four scenarios presented in the report on the road to 2025.

Adam Kahane, from the group Reos Partners, who participated in the design of the Scenarios Report, was the presenter of the session, which for first time put the subject up for debate among the representatives of the OAS Member States. Kahane recalled that the Report was commissioned by the Sixth Summit of the Americas, held in April 2012 in Cartagena, Colombia; and added that the Scenarios Report responds specifically to the request of the Heads of State and Government of the Hemisphere to explore "new approaches to strengthen this struggle and to become more effective."

The Canadian expert explained, "the scenarios are stories of what is possible, about what could happen. They provide a common framework and a language for exploratory dialogues about possible challenges, opportunities, options and next steps." Kahane said the four scenarios laid out in the Report - "Together", "Pathways", "Resilience" and "Disruption" - give an "understanding of four possible territories about we could encounter as we move into the future." The scenarios, he said, are neither "forecasts, or stories about what will happen,” nor “recommendations or stories about what should happen."

The OAS Secretary for Multidimensional Security, Adam Blackwell, one of the experts who participated in the study, explained that the main objective was to compile the Report accurately describe what is happening in the hemisphere in relation to drug policy.

Ambassador Blackwell recalled that the document was produced by 46 people, including five members of the panel, and was developed in the context of a hemisphere where "the drug trade represents more than $150 billion a year, where there are 150,000 homicides, 80% of which involve the use of firearms, where 50% of the world's kidnappings happen, and where many governments face a scenario that is outside their capabilities."

John Walsh, from the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) said that one of the axes of the report is that it focuses on that "drugs are part of a larger security problem, and we see that institutions are unable to control organized crime, and violence and corruption are generated."

Emiliano Gonzalez, former Deputy Director General of the National Drug Plan of Spain, explained that the four scenarios contained in the report were the result of a long discussion within the "heterogeneous" group of observers. "Undoubtedly the scenarios are the result of consensus. We might have been able to choose other options, but I think in these four axes we find the issues that are already happening, and are based on what is already happening."

Julius Lang, the Director of Technical Assistance at the Center for Court Innovation, described the preparation of the Report and the selection of the four scenarios according to their "relevance in relation to what is currently happening in the hemisphere." Lang drew special attention to the second stage - "Pathways" - which emphasizes that the "problem is that the current regime for controlling drugs through criminal sanctions, especially arrests and incarceration of users and low level dealers, is causing too much damage."

The 53rd Regular Session of CICAD, chaired by the Minister of Public Security of Costa Rica, Mario Zamora, is being held at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, until Wednesday May 22.

More information on the meeting is available here.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-196/13