Remarks at Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission

Luis E. Arreaga
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Washington, DC
April 25, 2016

Thank you Mr. Chairman. My delegation would like to express our gratitude to the CICAD Executive Secretariat for organizing this event and for keeping the CICAD agenda moving forward.

We know that many members of this Commission have just returned from the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs. There, our leaders recognized that the drug problem remains a high priority for our nations and they rallied around very important commitments. The international community

  • Reaffirmed the primacy of three United Nations drug conventions;
  • Underlined the need to emphasize public health approaches to drugs;
  • Encouraged closer collaboration between the public health and justice communities;
  • Expressed support for innovative sentencing reform initiatives and proportionate sentencing;
  • They also recognized the importance of continued close cooperation between nations to effectively confront transnational criminal organizations, // particularly those trafficking in drugs; and,
  • They emphasized the need to urgently address collaboratively emerging drug challenges, such as new psychoactive.

It is up to CICAD to advance these priorities by adopting a plan of action and structure that reflects those commitments.

In this spirit, we applaud Secretary General Almagro’s efforts to streamline and optimize OAS operations by seeking to establish a more harmonized Secretariat on Multidimensional Security. In fact, we welcome the establishment of a new Department against Transnational Organized Crime that will focus on that issue in our hemisphere.

As the Secretary General moves forward, we urge him to take into account the consensus-based UNGASS outcome document which calls for a deeper integrated, and I emphasize integrated, approach to tackling the drug problem. We believe that it is essential that public health, law enforcement, and statistic-collection and analysis entities work hand-in-hand to formulate evidence-based international drug policy recommendations.

Having public health, statistics analysts, and law enforcement experts report directly to the CICAD Executive Secretary will facilitate the important work of our organization. This integrated approach will help member states identify strengths and areas for improvement in their drug control efforts.

A well-functioning CICAD, working in tandem with a new Department on Transnational Organized Crime, must reflect the integrated and balanced approach to drug policy that our leaders agreed to by consensus and made a top priority at UNGASS last week.

We look forward to the selection of a new CICAD Executive Secretary to lead and direct this important work. This is also necessary to advance the Secretary General’s objective of streamlining operations and reducing operational costs. We share and support these objectives.

CICAD should be proud of the UNGASS outcome document because it reflects the work that CICAD has pioneered over the last decade. We must redouble our commitment to protect that legacy and meet the multidimensional security challenges our hemisphere faces. Let’s strengthen and empower CICAD’s strategic, balanced drug policies and programs so they can be fully implemented by OAS member states.

The United States will remain a faithful supporter and a resolute advocate of this important organization, its goals, and the aspirations of the people of our hemisphere.