CELAC’S Approach to Developing a Convenient Demand, Supply, and Decriminalization of Drugs

BY FABIANA CHAVEZ, EL PAIS

CELAC is a body that was created for the purpose of empowering Latin American countries to stand as a unified body to expressed their concerns about the current drug situation, and solve the problem through the decriminalization of drugs. St. Kitts and Nevis expresses its opinion:

“The war on drugs in the US has failed, a trillion dollars have been spent and nothing has changed.”

Q: What is your country’s approach towards the decriminalization of drugs?

A: It’s unrealistic that people seen with a gram of cocaine go to jail for 10 years, while a drunk driver who kills someone goes to jail for 5 years—that is something we consider to be ridiculous. Several countries have taken steps for decriminalization and legalization of small amounts of drug. Though it seems that most countries are going in the same direction, it is a matter of creating a framework. We are currently working on creating models of decriminalization so that every country can adapt this path. For example, Bolivia’s use of coca plants translates into them considering legalization of cocaine, but not cannabis. Thus, each country adapts the framework and model for its necessities.

Q: What are other blocks in the committee focusing on?

A: Other countries deny the decriminalization and are against it. One proposal in the committee was to run tests for 5 years and see how decriminalization functions. There are lots of countries against decriminalization, which was one of the main causes that I didn’t join them.

[The delegated showed a graphic model of Demand, Supply and Decriminalization—St. Kitts and Nevis summarized what each program consisted of]

Q: What are the methods developed in the graphic?

A: On the demand part, the block formed the Needle Exchange Program, which consists of people exchanging their needles through special centers that provide accurate information on the effects of drugs. This will clearly reduce the amount of HIV and broken needles that hurt people. Regarding the supply part, we count with crop substitution and alternative development. Both demand and supply will assure decriminalization to be effective, the ultimate mission of the committee.

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