Latin America has long promoted a war on drugs approach. However, the significant levels of violence, as well as other health and social harms related to repressive drug control have led several countries across the region to call for an open debate on drug policy across the region. Uruguay has moved a step further by legally regulating its cannabis market.
While participants largely continue to use crack, the intensity of their use has dropped significantly. They have also benefited from a drastically increased quality of life as result of the housing and access to health care.
While every situation is different and Costa Rica presents several advantages that other countries may lack, its recent efforts provide an encouraging example of how reform is possible in this politically sensitive issue.
The discussion is part of a series of public hearings, and aims to determine whether the issue will provide the subject of a new bill, taking into consideration a report to be drawn up by Senator Cristovam Buarque.
The video shows a documentary about the neuroscientist, Karl Hart, professor at Columbia University, who got international attention after questioning the common sense about the use, abuse and addiction on crack cocaine.
The report seeks to understand how to manage the harms caused by drugs in a way that minimises negative societal and personal impacts—and how to fundamentally uproot the prohibitive, militarised drug-control approach that remains entrenched in the region.