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Drug trafficking: less policing, more treatment

Monday, September 22, 2014

Organization of American States at a meeting last week in Guatemala proposed an approach focused on public health and safety and health, as a better way of dealing with the problem of drug trafficking.

In addition, states should in appropriate cases promote alternatives to incarceration for possession offenses, as way of reducing prison populations, and to emphasize rehabilitation of addicts.

There is an urgent need to review current policies to combat drug trafficking, which are far from achieving effective results, said José Miguel Insulza, the OAS Secretary General.

The meeting is expected to lay a foundation for a Latin American consensus on drugs, which would be proposed to the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2016.

Member countries agreed that it would still be necessary to deter drug trafficking and money laundering, usually managed by organized crime operations.

The approach taken at last week’s assembly follows an approach taken last year by Guatemalan President Otto Perez, who advocates decriminalizing the consumption of drugs.