Peru is a major world producer of coca leaf and its derivatives. Since the year 2000, successive Peruvian administrations have followed a drug policy focused on supply reduction through interdiction and eradication strategies. The law on drugs does not punish drug use or drug possession for personal use by imprisonment. Nonetheless, the Peruvian authorities treat drug use as if it were criminal conduct. As a result, the police are overwhelmed, trials are delayed, and the prisons are filled.
The Peruvian government has presented the “Miracle of San Martin Model” as the path to follow to achieve drug supply reduction. However a closer look reveals that the model is not replicable, not ecologically sustainable, and won't remedy the ‘symptoms of alternative development’.
This page was originally published in August 2014, and last updated in June 2016.
According to, Peruvian laws consumption or possession of controlled substances for personal use is not punishable, it is estimated that 60 percent of detentions on drug charges are related to use or simple possession. Moreover, the penalties for drug related crimes are relatively high and disproportionate, and infringe upon fundamental rights such as freedom, due process and other judicial guarantees. The penalty for small scale sales of drugs is between one to eight years in prison, according to the Criminal Code.