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Statement from the 2020 cohort of the CIDE PPD diploma in drug policies, health and human rights, calling for drug policies that respect human rights for Latin America and the Caribbean

The undersigned, graduates and teachers of the "Diploma in Drug Policy, Health and Human Rights 2020" of the Drug Policy Program (PPD) of the Center for Economic Research and Teaching (CIDE) Central Region (Aguascalientes, Mexico) from different countries of Latin America and the Caribbean with interdisciplinary training, experiences and fields of work, we demand the implementation of public drug policies with differential approaches to human rights, public health and gender. This after reflecting on the drug problem in a global and particularly regional context, where criminalization prevails, generating high human, social, environmental and economic costs, especially for the most vulnerable people and territories. It is also required that this approach be adjusted to the particular territorial and population contexts for effective health promotion and adequate policies to reduce risks and damage.

To this end, we propose that the current guidelines on drug policies be reviewed according to the needs of each country in the region, in light of the following parameters:

  • The more punitive perspective of prohibitionism , known as the “War on Drugs”, should be completely abandoned, as it has only produced more violence, deaths, population displacement, disappearances of people and disproportionate imprisonment, failing to meet the proposed objectives - at least in its rhetoric - inasmuch as it has not reduced demand, consumption, or drug trafficking in the region.

  • It is necessary to recognize drug users as subjects of rights , respecting their freedom and the free development of their personality and breaking with the paradigm that all substance use is problematic. In addition, the use of substances must be recognized as intrinsic dynamics to diverse cultures and populations that have historically given them meaning, functionalities and meanings.

  • It is imperative to conceive the situation of people in circumstances of problematic consumption as a health and human rights problem, and not a public security problem . Mechanisms for the prevention of problematic consumption, health promotion and risk reduction must be implemented, so that attention is focused on people and on the guarantee of their right to life, as an inalienable right, recognizing their autonomy. Thus, states and civil society must recognize and offer the widest variety of care and treatment alternatives, including options that do not require abstinence as a requirement when the person so demands.

  • It is essential to address the phenomenon of psychoactive substance use from an interdisciplinary perspective in the academy , which promotes the production of empirical, theoretical, humanistic knowledge to make significant contributions to public discussion from evidence.

  • It is necessary to modify the international and national legal regimes that give a framework to the "War on drugs" , in order to generate new systems of social inclusion that respect human rights and the international treaties that host them.

  • It is essential to review the general situation of the prisons in the region , overcrowded and with serious detention conditions that affect the basic rights of people deprived of their liberty and their families. Current drug policies seriously contribute to this situation with the massive incarceration of users and the last links of the criminal marketing chains, with no impact on the disruption of the large criminal organizations that they are trying to combat. On the other hand, the States must recognize the consumption of substances within prisons and assume that persons deprived of liberty are subjects of law who must enjoy adequate health services focused on reducing risks and harm.

  • It is important to understand that the design of any public policy must be framed within criteria of intersectionality , inevitably including a gender perspective, respect for the rights of children and adolescents, and inclusion of indigenous peoples with community logic (with the respective mitigating factors that should be conceived of as according to each type of population, their customs, their worldview, etc).

  • Regulated markets for substances should be aimed at guaranteeing public health, market access for small producers / traders, maximizing the biological diversity of cultivated plants, and minimizing the environmental and cultural impacts of the regulated production of substances. It should not be aimed at maximizing the economic benefits of large business players. Likewise, fiscal resources from regulation should be used with a restorative approach to the populations that have been most affected by the prohibition.

  • It is imperative that governments adopt public policies to reduce risks and comprehensive harm that guarantee the right to life and health of people who use substances and that promote strategies to combat the stigma and discrimination currently experienced by users. in the region.

  • It is urgent that the actions that are developed in the hemisphere in the face of children, adolescents and young people be modified, and that the prevention strategies for the use and consumption of SPA be transformed, respecting human rights. It is also necessary to guarantee and advance in the development of alternative treatments for this population, access to methadone and naloxone in certain cases, as well as actions to reduce the risk and harm for problematic drug use in institutionalized populations and the adolescent criminal responsibility system.

  • In the most affected contexts, the application of mechanisms that assess the damages of the drug wars, such as transitional justice, should be seriously considered, including the creation of truth commissions, with the purpose of repairing them by guaranteeing the non-repetition of these types of acts, factors that are considered necessary for the construction of peace and reconciliation between the parties involved.

  • The comprehensive participation of people who use substances, as well as the victims of these policies or rural women who are linked in the production chains from the lowest links, in the design and evaluation of public policies that generate impacts on their lives: "Nothing about us without us."

  • That is why it is crucial to broaden and improve the debate around drugs. To understand substance use, you must first accept its complexity. This will only be possible by overcoming myths, lies and moralistic and reductionist approaches that stigmatize users through traditional media. In this sense, it is urgent to promote the production and dissemination of quality information to bring it closer to society in general, particularly to decision makers . Access to quality information is a right for everyone. For the authorities, an obligation.

For a sensible and contextualized policy against drugs, where multicausality is made visible and assertive alternatives for resolution are generated for the Latin American context.

January 2020, Aguascalientes, Mexico.

They sign:

Marcos Cané (Limando Rejas-Ueplas / Argentina); Carlos Fontes (LPSD / Uruguay), Viviana Porto (doctoral student in political science / UNAM); Estefanía Álvarez Jiménez (LPP / Ags graduate, Mexico); M. Victoria Baca Paunero and Luis E. Osler (Cecca - Center for the Study of Cannabis Culture / Argentina); Daniel Nishisawa (LPSD-IECRIMT / Mexico); Michael Steven Zapata Barbosa and Julie Benavides Melo (National Pedagogical University / Colombia); Melissa Álvarez García (Mexico); Daniel Gudiño Pérez (Parametry / Ecuador); Gina Díaz (ICBF / Échele Cabeza, Colombia); José Jans Carretero Pardo (Human Rights Defender, Colombia); José A. Lozada Berríos and Jennifer Montalvo García (Puerto Rico Exchanges); Carolina Pinzón ( #deliberate / Colombia); Soledad Vallejo (Drug and Human Rights Policy Reset / Argentina); Juan de Dios De Luna Altamirano (Mexico); Felipe Fernández (Colombia); Santiago Gatica Fernández (Mexico); Héctor Aguilar Herrera (Free Cannabis AC / Mexico); Gabriela Reyes Rodas (Bolivia); Elsa Armendáriz (Master in Public Management from CIDE); Esteban Acuña (Soma Project / Peru); Raúl Lescano (Soma Project / Peru); Emmanuel Farias Camarero (Fundación Loto Rojo-Citizens in Search of Dignity / Mexico); Maria Emilia Pérez (Imaginario 9, / Uruguay) Samantha Pérez-Dávila , Laura Atuesta , Alejandro Madrazo , Catalina Pérez Correa , Angélica Ospina -Escobar, Jaime Arredondo , Daniel Zizumbo , Édgar Guerra , Bárbara Zayas and Fernando Alarid Escudero (CIDE-PPD / Mexico); Oliver Meza (CIDE / Mexico); Guus Zwitser and Tania Ramírez (MUCD / Mexico); Jorge Javier Romero (UAM / Mexico) and Fany Pineda (ReverdeSer / Mexico); Shankar Syed Mora and Pablo Cascante González (Safe Consumption Campaign-LPSD-LANPUD-Apoye No Punigue / Costa Rica); Alfonso Chavez (Prevencasa AC / Mexico); Raúl Bejarano (PPD-CIDE / Mexico); Andrés Guevara, (ATS, Colombia); Alejandro Rodriguez Lach (Colombia); Lourdes Angulo Corral- Katia Ruiz (Social Integration Verter AC / Mexico); Alejandra Medina (Echele Cabeza / Colombia)

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