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EU and Latin America and Caribbean meets in Drugs Summit in Spain

Mayors of European, Latin American and Caribbean cities who attended and participated in the “Drugs Summit of European, Latin American and Caribbean Mayors and Cities,” today made a commitment to take concrete actions towards the future in the area of drug treatment services and in the search for solutions to social problems caused by drug abuse. The three-day event was organized jointly by the Organization of American States (OAS) and the European Union,

At the conclusion of the Summit, held in the Spanish city of Lugo, participating mayors recognized that “drug demand reduction policies and programs should be comprehensive and long-term, and should be geared to promoting healthy lifestyles, preventing drug use and abuse, providing treatment and rehabilitation for drug-dependent persons, and offering recovery support services in the community.”

Furthermore, they said they were “convinced that helping people recover from their illness of drug dependence means drawing on many government and community resources, particularly health care, social welfare, housing, employment and education. Resources invested in recovery services translate into benefits for society as a whole by reducing the costs associated with dependence.”

During the Summit’s closing ceremony, the OAS Secretary for Multidimensional Security, Alexandre Addor-Neto, emphasized that this is as a moment of consensus and a point of departure that already has essential common points and highlighted “an integrated vision to confront drug abuse with the commitment of governments at their various levels, as well as an approach based on the respect for human rights, scientific evidence, the value of the patient, and the rejection of stigmas and prejudices.”

Addor-Neto also underlined the importance of local action in providing drug treatment services and in the search for solutions to the social problems caused by drug abuse. “With the presence here of so many authorities at the national, regional and local levels. The idea of being able to coordinate a global policy with local interests in an efficient manner and with the presence of the community is very important. Only in this way will citizens be at the center of objective processes and their results”, he affirmed.

From April 21 to 23, the Lugo Summit convened some 300 mayors and international experts and authorities on drug control from 40 cities and 30 countries of Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean to address the social problems caused by drugs and the role cities must play in the search for their solutions.

The event was the conclusion of a collaborative effort by the OAS and the European Union called, “EU-LAC Drug Treatment City Partnerships” that since its beginning in 2007 has achieved, among other things, the creation and improvement of drug treatment courts in Latin America and Europe, as well as the coordination of a patient registry to be used by more than 30 cities with the objectives of strengthening drug treatment services at the city level and conducting research and data analysis between cities.

The EU-LAC Project was coordinated by the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of the OAS Secretariat for Multidimensional Security and funded by the European Commission.

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