Media Center

Press Release


  November 13, 2009

The Organization of American States (OAS) and the Government of the United States today announced renewed efforts to reduce the demand for illegal drugs in the hemisphere and to provide treatment to persons with drug addictions, two subjects that are expected to dominate next week’s Forty-Sixth Regular Session of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD 46) in Miami, Florida.

José Miguel Insulza, the Secretary General of the OAS, welcomed the renewed commitment of the United States, which is nominated to chair the CICAD for the first time in the Commission’s 23-year history.

“The illicit drug problem is a clear case of a multinational problem, with coca and opium poppy plants grown in one country, processed in another, shipped through third countries to the end users all over the world, and the illegal profits hidden in yet other countries,” Insulza said. “The Hemispheric Anti-drug Strategy of 1996 is currently undergoing revision by CICAD member states to take into consideration these new tendencies, and I am very encouraged that this process will be moving ahead next week in Miami. It is also very gratifying that the United States is renewing and reinforcing its commitment to the work of CICAD.”

A. Thomas McLellan, Deputy Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, commented on US President Barack Obama’s commitment to strengthening the relationship of the United States with its neighbors in the hemisphere.

“One of the most important areas for collaboration with our hemispheric partners is to work together to address the challenge of illicit drugs. The Obama Administration is placing greater emphasis on drug abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery, along with continued supply reduction efforts. We look forward to exchanging the latest research and scientific information on substance abuse with CICAD and our neighbors in the Western Hemisphere,” McLellan said.

David Johnson, State Department Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), said he looked forward to the work of the CICAD and reiterated the Commission’s relevance in helping to reinforce cooperation between the countries of the hemisphere.

“The U.S. is honored to assume the chairmanship of this 34-nation body, and I especially look forward to coordinating with our vice-chair, Minister of Justice and Police Chand Santokhi, of Suriname,” Johnson said. “For two decades, the CICAD Commission has worked to foster hemispheric progress against the troubling problems of drug trafficking. As a well-established policy and program Commission, CICAD is a natural organization for the United States to turn to as the Obama Administration seeks to emphasize the tools of multilateral cooperation to address our mutual challenges.”

CICAD 46 will be held November 18-20 at the Hilton Hotel Downtown in Miami, Florida. It will feature a continuing discussion of demand reduction efforts in the hemisphere; an OAS presentation on the state of drug consumption in the hemisphere; and an update on new directions in the United States for the treatment of persons with drug addictions.

The Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission was established by the OAS General Assembly in 1986 as the Western Hemisphere's policy forum on all aspects of the drug problem. Each member government appoints a high-ranking representative to the Commission, which meets twice a year. CICAD's core mission is to strengthen the human and institutional capacities of its member states to reduce the production, trafficking and use of illegal drugs, and to address the health, social and criminal consequences of the illegal drug trade.

Reference: E-381/09