Is the 'human cost' in the war on drugs too high?
South American summit suggests decriminalization of drug use, coordination between nations more pro-active
With millions of civilians, soldiers and criminals all dead, and no change in sight, a summit of Latin American nations has suggested that the best path may be to decriminalize drug use, while stressing cooperation between nations. The Organization of American States has suggested that Latin American countries could stop deploying law enforcement agencies to fight cartels after concluding that the human costs of the "war on drugs" is just too high.
With millions of civilians, soldiers and criminals all dead, and no change in sight, a summit of Latin American nations has suggested that the best path may be to decriminalize drug use, while stressing cooperation between nations.
The United States is being pressured by some regional leaders for an overhaul of anti-drug policies and has suggested they might be open to legalization of some narcotics if that would reduce bloodshed.
In a 200-page review, a number of South American countries say they would break with the prohibition line. They said that they are ready to no longer deploy law enforcement and the army against drug cartels after deeming the human cost of life too high.
"The report presented by the OAS today is a vital piece in the construction of a common way to fight this problem," Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said during the presentation.
Internationally, Latin America suffers the brunt of consequences of the so-called war on drugs. In Mexico alone, upwards of 70,000 people have died in drug-related violence over the past six years, while at the same time having a lower murder rate is still lower than several nations, including Honduras, Guatemala, Brazil and Venezuela.
Drug-related violence has plagued Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador as traffickers have increasingly infiltrated Central America.
Almost all the cocaine consumed in Western countries is produced in Latin America. Even worse, drug consumption is ticking up in nations such as Argentina and Brazil.
According to the OAS, about 45 percent of cocaine consumers, 50 percent of heroin users and 25 percent of marijuana smokers live in North and South America.
The nation of Costa Rica has fared better than many of its neighbors, but it worries about spillover from nearby countries.
Honduras currently has the highest homicide rate in the world, with about 7,200 people murdered last year in the tiny nation of eight million people, most in drug-related crime.
The report, which includes all 35 North and South American nations, aims to start a debate among American nations regarding anti-drug policies. It also advocates for softer policies toward drug users.
"The decriminalization of drug consumption must be considered the base of any public health strategies," the report says. "An addict is not a person with a chronic disease that should be punished for his addiction."
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Americas News
- Fracking protesters in Canada set up burning tire blockade, dance around flames
- Brazilian teen girls becoming prostitutes before World Cup in bid to escape poverty
- Organizan en Argentina bicicletada por la libertad religiosa
- Madre de Gustavo Cerati: Dios es quien decide sobre la vida y la muerte de mi hijo
- Mexican drug cartels now illegally mining iron ore for shipment to China
- #VideoViral: ¿Por qué traer un niño a este mundo?, publicidad de multinacional sorprende a pro-vidas
- Mons. Arancedo pide reforzar matrimonio y derechos del niño en nuevo Código Civil
- Violence against women surges in Latin America (GRAPHIC PHOTOS)
- At least 42 bodies pulled from mass grave in western Mexico
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?