As the world has been gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic, the global “war on drugs” has continued in ways that are both surprising and tragically familiar. We can see how the drug war is utilized as political proxy, authoritarian instrument, and mechanism of oppression by charting recent examples across the globe: from President Trump’s surprising April 1 coronavirus press conference announcing “enhanced counter-narcotics operations” in the Western Hemisphere to restrictions on press freedoms in the Philippines to police brutality and systemic racism in the United States.

This live-streamed conversation will explore the current state of the drug war, the anti-racism protests taking place across the world, responses from political leaders, and the rise of authoritarianism in the context of COVID-19. The event will take place on 25th June from 12:00 to 1:30 pm (EDT).


Sheila Coronel: Sheila Coronel is director of the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at the Columbia University School of Journalism.

Geoff Ramsey: Geoff Ramsey is director for Venezuela at the Washington Office on Latin America.

Aqeela Sherrills: Aqeela Sherrills is director of the Newark Community Street Team.


Matthew Wilson: Matthew Wilson is deputy director for the Open Society Global Drug Policy Program.