Shifting Strategies on Drug Policy: A Comparative Approach
After decades of orthodoxy and stringent enforcement of drug policies, the global counternarcotics regime is increasingly challenged. Some countries, particularly in the Americas and in Europe, are adopting liberalized approaches, and an array of drug policies is emerging. Policymakers are reviewing the effectiveness of existing policies and exploring alternatives, creating new directions for the global drug policy regime.
On September 22, the Latin America Initiative (LAI) at Brookings, the London School of Economics (LSE) and the Open Society Foundations hosted a discussion on global drug policy trends and effectiveness. Experts addressed among other issues the security and organized crime implications, the effectiveness of supply-side policies, as well as mass incarceration and the public health dimensions. Panelists included John Collins, international drug policy coordinator at LSE IDEAS; Vanda Felbab-Brown, senior fellow with the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at Brookings; Daniel Mejia, associate professor and director of the Research Center on Drugs and Security at Universidad de los Andes; and Jasmine Tyler, senior policy analyst at the Open Society Foundations. LAI Director and Senior Fellow Harold Trinkunas provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion.
International Drug Policy Project Coordinator - LSE IDEAS
Senior Policy Analyst - Open Society Foundations
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President-elect Bolsonaro has embraced tough-on-crime measures that egregiously violate basic human rights and eviscerate the rule of law. Responding to Brazil’s 63,880 homicides in 2017, Bolsonaro calls for increasing protection for police officers who kill alleged criminals and arming citizens. He calls for further militarizing urban policing, reducing the age of criminal liability from 18 to 16, reinstating the death penalty, authorizing torture in interrogations and imprisoning more people... Brazil’s police are already notorious for being one of the world’s deadliest in the use of force. In many favelas, Brazil’s retired and current police officers operate illegal militias that extort and control local communities, murdering those who oppose them and engaging in warfare with Brazil’s highly-violent gangs and in social cleansing. Bolsonaro is simply threatening to turn the rest of the police into state-sanctioned thugs.