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Rethinking US Drug Policy

By Inter-American Dialogue. Most Americans believe that their country’s forty-year “war on drugs” has failed. Yet, despite the costs and growing opposition to US anti-narcotics strategy across Latin America, the US debate on drug policy remains muted. It is time now to end the silent tolerance of ineffective, socially harmful laws, institutions, and policies, and usher in a serious national discussion of how to reform US drug control strategies.

According to Rethinking US Drug Policy, a report released today by the Inter-American Dialogue, what is most needed now is a far-reaching debate on alternative approaches that could reduce the risks and damage from the trafficking and abuse of illegal drugs. The report proposes a series of US government initiatives that would set the stage for a thorough rethinking of US drug policy:

Support recent Congressional initiatives to establish House and Senate commissions to review US anti-drug strategies and develop alternative approaches;
Join with other nations to organize an inter-governmental task force on narcotics strategy that would review and appraise global drug policies;
Revise outdated UN treaties that underpin the international narcotics regime;
Expand data collection, analysis, and research on multiple aspects of drug problems and the policies and programs designed to address them; and
Identify and scale up successful drug programs that promise to reduce drug addiction and the health risks to addicts, increase the prospects of rehabilitation, and decrease drug-related crimes.
On February 10, the Inter-American Dialogue will hold a public discussion on the findings and recommendations of the report at an event on Capitol Hill.

The Dialogue is grateful to the Open Society Institute and the Alvar-Alice Foundation for their support of the Dialogue’s work on drug policy. The Beckley Foundation, a charitable trust based in the United Kingdom, contributed to the report’s production, publication, and dissemination.

The Inter-American Dialogue is the leading US center for policy analysis, exchange, and communication on issues in Western Hemisphere affairs. The Dialogue brings together public and private leaders from across the Americas to address hemispheric problems and opportunities. Together they seek to build cooperation and advance a regional agenda of democratic governance, social equity, and economic growth.

Download Document: Rethinking_US_Drug_Policy

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