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Experts on Drug Demand Reduction at the OAS Promote Community Participation, Education, and Regional Cooperation

  September 29, 2011

The XIII Demand Reduction Expert Group Meeting of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of the Organization of American States (OAS) concluded today in Washington, DC after three days of analysis of the main challenges, opportunities and experience on this topic at the hemispheric level.

The event was attended by delegates from 22 countries and various regional and national organizations specialized on the drug fighting issue, and addressed topics such as the value of science in addressing substance abuse and addiction; the role of scientific evidence in the process of policy and decision-making; recommendations to strengthen policies on drugged driving, prescription drug abuse prevention plans, as well as programs and strategies for community participation, among others.

The closing ceremony featured the Chair of the Demand Reduction Expert Group and Deputy Director for Demand Reduction of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, David K. Mineta; the Vice Chair of the Demand Reduction Expert Group and National Secretary on Drug Policy of Brazil, Paulina do Carmo Arruda Vieira Duarte; and CICAD's Executive Secretary, Paul Simons, who agreed on the need for establishing closer hemispheric dialogues in order to achieve a more effective impact on the nationwide proposals and policies to reduce drug demand.

The Chairman of the Panel, Mineta, said "this meeting set up the stage for this very ambitious program that we have ahead, and as President Obama said yesterday, this is a call to make a greater and renovated effort to reduced demand from a public health perspective."

The Executive Secretary of CICAD, on the other hand, noted as part of the conclusions of the meeting that "for CICAD it is a priority to work more closely with specialized institutions like the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), as both have common and complementary strategies. "

The conclusions of the event were focused mainly on the recognition that the drug problem, although specific, is a common issue to all OAS Member States; the importance of strengthening national and regional policies on drugs, with an special emphasis on demand reduction; the need for reliable and comparable scientific data to allow proper exchange of information between countries; the urgency to implement educational and awareness programs about the implications of drugged driving; and the recognition of community participation as key in the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of drug abuse and social integration.

As part of the meeting, held at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, the experts acknowledged the work of CICAD, and referred to its role as "articulator, facilitator and promoter of closeness between the countries." They further stressed the support provided by CICAD in the implementation of the Hemispheric Plan of Action on Drugs and recognized the need to find new ways for communication and the exchange of information and experiences to allow for more effectiveness in reaching their objectives.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-861/11