The United States, Uruguay, Mexico, Canada… the Americas are slowly making changes to their drug policies by turning to medicinal uses, decriminalization and even legalizing the recreational use of previously illegal substances.
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The Monitor will be periodically updated by the Igarapé team, to serve as a source of up-to-date information on developments in the region for journalists, students and others interested in staying informed about the subject.
Since 2008, the Americas have pioneered the reform of zero-tolerance drug policy into an approach focusing on public health.
From Canada to Tierra del Fuego, governments and society have sought answers compatible with the reality on the ground, adjusting policies to create more humane and efficient solutions.
For some, this means regulating the cultivation and consumption of coca leaves, traditionally grown in the Andean region. For others, it means implementing harm reduction programs for users of crack cocaine or heroin.
There are various paths. Some countries have already passed legislation allowing the medicinal use of illicit drugs, only regulating access, others are yet to change their laws. In some countries, change has happened through the legal system – the debate on the criminalization of the use of drugs has already landed in several supreme courts throughout the region – or indeed, through tacit agreements reached among public security officials not to arrest drug users.