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  1. Reimagining Drug Policy in the Americas

    27 June 2014

    Latin America is now at the vanguard of international efforts to promote drug policy reform: Bolivia has rewritten its constitution to recognize the right to use the coca leaf for traditional and legal purposes, Uruguay has become the first nation in the world to adopt a legal, regulated Cannabis market, and Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, and Ecuador are openly critiquing the prevailing international drug control paradigm at the UN. And now with the United States itself relaxing its marijuana laws state by state, the U.S. prohibitionist drug war strategies are losing credibility in the region.

     

  2. Drug Policy in the Andes

    • Coletta Youngers, Socorro Ramírez
    15 December 2011

    Fifty years after signing the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and 40 years after the U.S. government declared a "war on drugs," many obstacles remain despite the partial successes of efforts to counter the problem. The Andean-United States Dialogue Forum, noted with concern how drug policy has monopolized the diplomatic and economic agenda between the Andean countries, contributing to tensions among the governments and impeding cooperation on other crucial priorities, such as safeguarding democratic processes from criminal networks.

     

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    Alternative development: an introduction

    01 March 2003

    Alternative Development programmes, aimed at encouraging peasants to switch from growing illicit drugs-related crops, play an important role in UN drug control strategies. The record of success, however, is a questionable one. Decades of efforts to reduce global drug supply using a combination of developmental and repressive means, managed to shift production from one country to another, but have failed in terms of global impact.

  4. Commanding general confidence?

    11 March 2012
    Policy briefing

    This note provides an overview of human rights and international law concerns raised by the 2011 Annual Report of the International Narcotics Control Board. These include questionable legal reasoning by the Board; the absence of broader human rights norms; problematic statements on specific issues; unqualified comments and support for policies despite human rights risks; and stigmatising language unbecoming a UN entity. These are patterns that are evident in previous Annual Reports.

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    Conflict flares in the Bolivian tropics

    • Drugs and Democracy
    01 January 2002
    Policy briefing

    An impressive reduction of the coca-cultivated area has been achieved within the framework of Plan Dignidad, but this ‘success’ has exacted a heavy toll in terms of the impoverishment and criminalisation of the Bolivian coca leaf-growing peasantry, or cocaleros, as they are known.

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    The Sierra de la Macarena

    • Drugs and Democracy
    19 September 2006
    Policy briefing

    Re-establishing fumigation is not going to legitimise or win acceptance of the State's activities in the territory of the Park. It is not going to protect the Park from the environmental deterioration generated by the critical interventions of social and military actors in the war. It is also not going to really affect the FARC's "bankroll". What it will do is create well-fertilised territory for the prolonging of the armed conflict.

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    Working towards a legal coca market: The case of coca leaf chewing in Argentina

    • Pien Metaal, Ricardo Abduca
    30 July 2013

    Modern use of the coca leaf in Argentina provides a series of examples that could contribute to dispelling many of the myths that have polarized debate about the subject over the last few years. Argentine coca consumption does not fit commonly held preconceptions on the subject. Furthermore, the social acceptance and legitimacy of the habit has created an absurd situation in which the sale and possession of coca leaf for consumption is legal, but the supply and wholesale purchase of it are prohibited, and therefore part of an illegal circuit.

  8. Global Illicit Drug Markets 1998-2007

    • Peter Reuter (RAND), Franz Trautmann (Trimbos Institute) (eds.)
    15 March 2009
    Report

    This report commissioned by the European Commission, found no evidence that the global drug problem has been reduced during the period from 1998 to 2007 – the primary target of the 1998 UNGASS, which aimed to significantly reduce the global illicit drugs problem by 2008 through international cooperation and measures in the field of drug supply and drug demand reduction. Broadly speaking the situation has improved a little in some of the richer countries, while for others it worsened, and for some of those it worsened sharply and substantially', among which are a few large developing or transitional countries. Given the limitations of the data, a fair judgment is that the problem became somewhat more severe.

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    Super Coca?

    01 September 2004
    Policy briefing

    Reports of the discovery of a coca plant in Colombia's Sierra Nevada that have a high cocaine content and a higher level of purity, and also resistant to the effects of aerial spraying is based on evidence that is riddled with errors and distortions. It reflects badly on the INCB and the media that unquestioningly reported it.

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    The Politics of Glyphosate

    01 June 2005
    Policy briefing

    The Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), an agency affiliated with the OAS, recently joined the large number of existing scientific studies on the possible health and environmental effects of Round Up, the glyphosate formula being sprayed on illicit crops in Colombia. CICAD’s investigation, under the direction of an international scientific team, concluded that the chemicals used in the spraying — glyphosate and Cosmo-Flux — do not affect human health or the environment, and that at most they could cause temporary skin and eye irritation, but serious doubts exist. The National University of Colombia’s Environmental Studies Institute published a critical analysis of the CICAD study, which considered technical aspects of the investigation, finding methodological shortcomings, as well as omissions and inconsistencies throughout the report. Those findings could point to a lack of impartiality in the CICAD study.

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    Redefining Targets

    • Martin Jelsma, Tom Kramer
    07 December 2009
    Policy briefing

    Afghanistan remains the world’s largest producer of opium and has an under-reported but growing heroin-use problem. Current drug control policies in Afghanistan are unrealistic, reflecting a need for immediate signs of hope rather than a serious analysis of the underlying causes and an effort to achieve long-term solutions.

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    Trouble in the Triangle

    • Martin Jelsma, Pietje Vervest, Tom Kramer
    22 July 2005
    Book

    A collection of ten papers that analyse the relationship between drugs and conflict in Burma and the consequences of the Burmese illicit drugs economy for neighbouring countries.

  13. Time for a Wake-up Call: An historical and ethnographic approach to the Regulation of Plant-based Stimulants

    • Pien Metaal, Anthony Henman
    20 December 2014
    Policy briefing

    The chemically-based frame of reference adopted by the UN Single Convention is mistaken in the culturally loaded and falsely “scientific” manner in which it was applied to different plants.

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    The drug policy reform agenda in the Americas

    • Coletta Youngers
    30 April 2013

    Latin America has emerged at the vanguard of efforts to promote debate on drug policy reform. For decades, Latin American governments largely followed the drug control policies and programs of Washington’s so-called war on drugs. Yet two parallel trends have resulted in a dramatic change in course: the emergence of left-wing governments that have challenged Washington’s historic patterns of unilateralism and interventionism and growing frustration with the failure of the prohibitionist drug control model put forward by the US government.

  15. Bolivia’s legal reconciliation with the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs

    11 July 2011
    Report

    On 29 June 2011, the Bolivian government denounced the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol, indicating its intention to re-accede with a reservation allowing for the traditional use of the coca leaf. This decision was triggered by Bolivia’s need to balance its obligations under the international drug control system with its constitutional and other international legal commitments. The move follows the rejection of Bolivia’s proposal to amend the Single Convention by deleting the obligation to abolish coca leaf chewing (Article 49) earlier this year.

     

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    The illicit drugs market in the Colombian agrarian context

    • Amira Armenta
    31 January 2013

    The distribution of land and its unjust use are the major causes of violence in Colombia. For this reason land issues are the starting point of current peace talks between the Santos government and the FARC guerrillas. Remedying these structural problems at the heart of rural Colombia is the best guarantee of progress of the current peace negotiations that could bring an end to a half-century-old violent conflict.

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    Coca chewing out of the UN convention?

    01 March 2010

    This briefing offers some background on the issue to amend the UN Single Convention towards a more coherent and realistic stance on the ancient tradition of coca leaf chewing. The issue was raised by Bolivia and adopted at the July 2009 ECOSOC meeting. Noticing confusion amongst some countries about the motives and impact of such amendment, this briefing aims to shed some light on the case.   

     

  18. Coca chewing out of the UN convention?

    01 March 2010

    This briefing offers some background on the issue to amend the UN Single Convention towards a more coherent and realistic stance on the ancient tradition of coca leaf chewing. The issue was raised by Bolivia and adopted at the July 2009 ECOSOC meeting. Noticing confusion amongst some countries about the motives and impact of such amendment, this briefing aims to shed some light on the case.

  19. The International Drug Control Treaties

    • Heather J. Haase, Nicolas Edward Eyle, Sebastian Scholl , Joshua Raymond Schrimpf
    31 July 2012
    Paper

    The way the world looks at drug control is changing. There has been a growing awareness of the issue for the past decade, as well as increasing public outcry over what many see as a failure of the once popular "war on drugs." Nowhere is this battle more pronounced than in the so-called "marijuana wars," which are slowly growing into an old-fashioned standoff between the states and the federal government.

     

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    Political Challenges Posed by the Failure of Prohibition

    • Ricardo Vargas
    01 May 2006
    Policy briefing

    After a slight dip in coca production during 2003 and 2004, the Andean region has returned to the historical average of 200,000 hectares of coca crops.

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