Coletta Youngers is a leading expert on international drug control policy and drug policy related developments in Latin America. She has over twenty years experience working on human rights and political developments in the Andean Region and U.S. foreign policy toward the Andes.
Ms. Youngers is a consultant with WOLA’s drug policy reform project, which promotes more effective and humane drug policies through dialogue and up-to-date analysis of developments in the region. She has helped coordinate a series of informal drug policy dialogues bringing together officials, academics legal experts and others to discuss ways to effectively move beyond the failed “war on drugs.” She is also WOLA’s lead coordinator of an investigation of the impact of drug laws on incarceration rates and prison conditions in eight Latin American countries. She serves an independent consultant with the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC).
Ms. Youngers is co-editor of Drugs and Democracy in Latin America: The Impact of U.S. Policy (2004), which was described in the Journal of Politics as, “a well-researched project that cogently discusses the international and domestic contexts and provides a comprehensive and reasoned account of problems in current U.S. drug policy.” Also published in Spanish, the book continues to be widely quoted in current research and is used by university professors across the country.
Ms. Youngers has published extensively and is frequently interviewed by English language and Spanish media, including articles or appearances in The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, CNN-Spanish, CBS-Spanish, NBC-Telenoticias, ECO-Televisa, and Univision.
She joined the staff of WOLA in 1987, specializing in human rights, democracy and U.S. policy toward Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia. Prior to joining WOLA, Ms. Youngers was a project manager at Catholic Relief Services and on the editorial staff of Latinamerica Press/Noticias Aliadas, both in Lima, Peru.