At the Sixth Summit of the Americas, held in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, in April 2012, our Heads of State and Government entrusted the Organization of American States with the task of preparing a Report on the drug problem in the Americas. The instructions, as communicated by the President of the Summit, Juan Manuel Santos, were clear-cut: the Report should be frank, thorough, and shed light on actions taken so far to confront the drug problem, without shying away from sensitive issues and without fear of breaking taboos in order to pave the way for new approaches to the drug phenomenon.

One year later the task had been completed. In May, 2013, we delivered the Report on the Drug Problem to the same President of Colombia and, through him, to all the Heads of State and Government. It had a huge, immediate impact. Less than one month later, the OAS General Assembly met in Antigua Guatemala, for the first session ever to address this significant issue that we have lived with for several decades. Its conclusions testified to the pressing need our governments and peoples felt to revisit the policies that had predominated in the Hemisphere and yet had failed to achieve expected outcomes.

In just 16 months, the Report managed to open up a discussion as frank as it was unprecedented of all the options available in the quest for more effective policies for dealing with the drug problem in the Hemisphere.

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