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Press Release


  September 14, 2007

The Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (known by its Spanish acronym, CICAD), of the Organization of American States (OAS), will bring together national experts from Central American countries next week to study measures that can be taken to improve drug abuse treatment for prisoners and adolescents in the region.

The five-day workshop “Strengthening of National Treatment Systems in Central America,” being held in Antigua, Guatemala, September 17-21, is organized by the OAS anti-drug commission, the National Drug Control Commission of Chile (CONACE) and the Spanish International Cooperation Agency (AECI), with co-financing by the US Government. Specialized drug treatment teams from Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, assisted by experts from Canada, Spain, the United States and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, will also explore the feasibility of setting up drug treatment courts as an alternative to incarceration for petty drug offenders.

One of the goals of the workshop is to agree on a standardized CICAD methodology for examining drug use by criminal offenders. “We currently have little information about the relationship between drug use and crime in Central America,” said Francisco Cumsille, head of CICAD’s Inter-American Observatory on Drugs (OID), “but through this new research methodology, we will begin to get a better picture of how drug and alcohol abuse relates to criminal behavior.”

CICAD, the specialized drug agency of the OAS, has for the last decade helped Central American governments establish and enforce quality standards for ethical therapy of drug addicts, and is providing intensive training for drug treatment counselors in El Salvador and Guatemala that will lead to professional certification.

Contact: Anna Chisman, Head, CICAD Demand Reduction, + (202) 458-6221 [email protected]

Reference: E-221/07