The first conference was held in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2009. Since then, the Latin American Conference on Drug Policy has served as a permanent and periodic platform for the discussion and development of innovative proposals. The production and use of drugs make up a plural phenomenon with multiple manifestations according to the historical moment, the culture, the economic model, the particular situation of a country, the different meanings assigned by the subjects and the differences between the substances themselves. However, it insists on homogenizing the “drug problem”, as if it were a unique phenomenon, timeless and ahistorical.
Although for decades almost every nation in the world has adopted different versions of a repressive prohibitionist model, in recent years the global consensus around this model has been fragmented. Currently, there are countries that have openly broken this paradigm and have implemented alternative models of regulation of the productive chain of psychoactive substances.
Among the main characteristics of Latin American countries is a huge social inequality; many of these countries play a key role in the production and transfer of illicit plants and substances, with a relatively low consumption index compared to the central countries and with a drug policy primarily focused on combating supply. The militarization of public safety, the increase in the incarceration of women for non-violent drug-related crimes, as well as the growing inattention and stigmatization of people who use drugs are factors that should be at the center of the debate in Latin America. Likewise, the consequences of these policies can not be avoided: social isolation, disproportionate imprisonment of people who use and transport drugs, social violence, environmental damage and violation of fundamental human rights.
These enormous social damages resulting from the actions of different actors – in particular from the States – constitute a matter of regional urgency and the frame of focus in which local and international debates on the matter are developed. In this edition, the VII Latin American Conference and II Mexican Conference on Drug Policy aims to be a platform for discussion and elaboration of proposals to overcome.