Drug Policy News & Analysis

"Building on Progress" in Bolivia

Kathryn Ledebur on Bolivia's Unheralded Drug Policy Success
Publication
Bolivia's government has rejected the U.S. model of illegal drug control—and cultivation of coca has dropped by 34%. Adam talks with Kathryn Ledebur of the Andean Information Network, co-author of a new report with WOLA.

The Impact of Mass Incarceration on Women in the Americas: Opportunities for Sentencing Reform

Video
As part of a Congressional briefing sponsored by WOLA and the Open Society Policy Center, advocates for reform highlight the injustice and inefficacy of current drug law and sentencing reform.

The Impact of Drug Policy on Human Rights

The Experience in the Americas
Publication
This joint report analyzes the effects of drug policy in the Americas, including the militarization of law enforcement, the criminalization of consumption, the weakening of due process guarantees, mass incarceration, disproportionate penalties, and restrictions on access to health care.

Workshop on Mass Incarceration of Women Across the Americas

Finding New Approaches to Grassroots and Global Advocacy
Analysis & Commentary
On July 16, 2015, WOLA and the Open Society Foundations (OSF) convened a Workshop on the Mass Incarceration of Women Across the Americas, bringing together experts and advocates from Latin America and the United States.

Bolivia’s Innovative Coca Policy Secures Major Drop in Cultivation

Bolivian Experience Holds Lessons for Andean Countries, Offers Alternative to Forced Eradication
News
Bolivia has seen a decline in coca cultivation for the fourth consecutive year, according to new United Nations data. An analysis of this data by WOLA and the Andean Information Network (AIN) reveals that the country’s coca policy—which relies on “cooperative coca reduction” rather than forced eradication—is responsible for the drop.

International Law and Drug Policy Reform

Report of an Expert Seminar on International Drug Control Law
Analysis & Commentary
In October 2014, WOLA and partner organizations hosted an Expert Seminar on drug law reform and the UN drug control conventions. This Rapporteur's Report summarizes the discussions.

Portraits from Prison Tell Stories of Women in the Drug War

Portraits from Prison Tell Stories of Women in the Drug War
Analysis & Commentary
Across the Americas, repressive drug policies make easy targets of small-scale dealers and people who use drugs, while doing little to thwart large-scale traffickers or organized crime.

Pope’s Visit to Bolivia Underscores Need for Drug Law Reform

Analysis & Commentary
In a long-anticipated trip, Pope Francis arrives in Bolivia today. His trip underscores the need for drug law reform.

What does it mean to have a human rights-oriented drug policy?

Analysis & Commentary
The war on drugs has failed; what are the alternative policies that can take its place?

The Seven Steps of Drug Policy Reform in Ecuador

Recent History and a Look toward the Future
Analysis & Commentary
Ecuador has entered a new era in drug policy and legislation. Taken in the context of past reforms, what does the latest legislation mean?

Women Across the Americas Incarcerated for Minor, Non-Violent, Drug-Related Crimes at an Alarming Rate

Photo Essay and Website Shed New Light on the Societal Cost of Failed Policies
News
Today, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), and the Center for Law, Justice and Society (Dejusticia) announce the launch of a new investigative website and photo essay to shed light on the human and societal cost of current drug policies in the Americas.

Women, Drug Policies, and Incarceration in the Americas

A Joint Project to Promote More Humane and Effective Policies
Analysis & Commentary
In collaboration with gender and human rights organizations from throughout the world, IDPC, Dejusticia and WOLA have convened a group of leading experts to address the harmful effects of incarceration on women in the Americas.

Women Behind Bars: Photo Essays Show The Human Cost of Current Drug Policy in the Americas

Analysis & Commentary
Across Latin America, the effects of disproportionate punishment for low-level, non-violent drug offenses are particularly severe for women. The following women are all serving reduced sentences at Costa Rica’s Buen Pastor Prison for having admitted their involvement in the drug market. These are their stories.

Ending Coca Fumigation in Colombia is the Right Call

Can Colombia Now Seize the Opportunity to Create a More Humane and Sustainable Approach to Reducing Coca Cultivation?
Analysis & Commentary
As the decades-long program of spraying coca crops with herbicides comes to an end, WOLA reflects on the history of flawed policy and what should replace it.

Interview with Adam Isacson on the End of Aerial Spraying in Colombia

Video
WOLA Senior Associate Adam Isacson explains the history of Colombia's deeply flawed program of aerial spraying program coca crops, and offers a panorama of what the future could hold.

WOLA Joins Call to Prioritize Human Rights in Global Drug Policy

News
As the United Nations prepares for the first comprehensive review of global responses to drug problems in nearly two decades, a broad coalition of more than 100 organizations is pushing for the international body to make human rights the cornerstone of new drug policies.

Uruguay’s Drug Policy: Major Innovations, Major Challenges

A Brookings/WOLA Paper
Publication
In a paper produced for a Brookings Institution policy brief series, John Walsh and Geoff Ramsey review Uruguay’s pioneering policies that legalize and regulate every level of the market for cannabis.

Even if Glyphosate Were Safe, Fumigation in Colombia Would Be a Bad Policy. Here's Why.

Analysis & Commentary
On April 27, Colombia's Health Ministry called on the government to end aerial spraying of coca crops over concerns that it could cause cancer. But even if it was safe, spraying is an absolutely ineffective policy.

A Legacy to Build On: New Attorney General Has Opportunity to Expand Drug Policy Reforms

Analysis & Commentary
Loretta Lynch, the new United States Attorney General, inherits a changing drug policy landscape. Serious drug policy reform is possible in the coming years if she commits to building on her predecessors advances.

The UN Analyzes the Human Rights Impact of Drug Policies Ahead of Global Summit

Analysis & Commentary
The involvement of the UN Human Rights Council in the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) in 2016 is a major achievement.