Media Center

Press Release


  November 18, 2009

A call for countries of the Americas to work together, with the use of new resources and the willingness to renew old strategies today characterized the inaugural session of a debate among the highest authorities in the hemisphere on the matter of drug abuse and drug traffic control.

The Forty-Sixth Regular Session of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD 46) of the Organization of American States (OAS) was inaugurated today in Miami, Florida, with the presence of the OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza; the CICAD President and Executive Secretary of the National Council for the Control of Narcotics of Chile (CONACE), María Teresa Chadwick; and the Deputy Director of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, A. Thomas McLellan.

Secretary General Insulza emphasized that the problem of drugs is multinational in character and made a call for international collaboration and cooperation to solve it. “We cannot allow this responsibility to be diluted among everyone,” he said, referring to the problem of drugs, which he called “one of the most terrible threats” to our countries. “Every one of our States, all together and in cooperation must strengthen our capabilities to face and solve this problem, ending the menace.”

The President of CICAD María Teresa Chadwick bid goodbye to the Commission upon concluding her term as President and reiterated that in the last decade “the world has changed” and the problem of drugs is not the same as before.

“Our enemies, the criminal organizations of illegal drug production and traffic also have changed. What are in your judgment those changes?” she asked. Among other things, she said, “the growing influence of drug cartels on political power and the threat they represent for security and development, the adaptation of the drug trafficking organizations to function as local nets that have led to a significant rise in micro-traffic and to a variety of crimes connected to the problem of drugs.” Also, she noted as indicators of such change the “rise in the consumption of a greater variety of narcotics or psychoactive drugs mainly among the youth segment of the population.”

The Deputy Director of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, A. Thomas McLellan, said that the Administration of the President of the United States, Barack Obama, is willing to face the new realities of the drug problem and undertake a change of strategy.

With the new Administration “has come a new spirit,” McLellan said. “First, collaboration and cooperation. We see this as an opportunity for shared information, shared expertise and shared responsibility as we deal with these terrible problems with drugs. Also a spirit of honest examination and acceptance of reality. It’s time to use science and common sense to direct our efforts—not ideology, not positions of the past, but a fresh look at what the data tell us. Also a willingness to rethink old positions, and particularly to change direction when the science says it’s time to change direction.”

“Drug Prevention, Treatment and Re-Integration” is the theme of CICAD 46, which is being held November 18-20 at the Hilton Hotel Downtown in Miami, Florida. It features 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-384/09