U.S. announces support for Colombian anti-drug programs
On Tuesday, Aug. 23, U.S. government representatives unveiled the program.
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The new anti-drug programs unveiled by Colombian and U.S. authorities aim to prevent drug use and promote the "use of alternatives to incarceration" for minor drug-related offenses.
"The U.S. government's view of substance use is that it must be addressed from its broadest context. A drug strategy must be comprehensive and evidence-based and proven to work," said Todd Robinson, assistant secretary of the U.S. government's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.
It would be a new approach to anti-drug trafficking programs to combat the drug problem from a socio-health point of view.
"When there is problematic consumption, public health problems [...] and insecurity increase," said Robinson, who is part of a U.S. government mission based in Colombia.
He announced three programs in which the Ministries of Health and Justice will collaborate, with a budget of US$2 million, the first two of which will focus on evaluating drug addiction treatment programs.
On the other hand, the third program will focus on drug demand reduction, with training aimed at addiction professionals "so that they improve treatment in this area and implement better practices to prevent consumption."
"We want to work on joint strategies to reduce the stigma of consumption and ensure that more people receive proper treatment," the official added.
For his part, Physician Rahul Gupta, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said that both countries are focused on prevention and treatment of drug and addiction problems.
"It is time to tackle addiction and trafficking in a comprehensive way," he explained.
In addition, he mentioned that they are looking to invest in treatment, medication, psychosocial services and therapeutic supports to lower the high rates of youth (and minors) in prison for minor drug-related issues.
Finally, the representatives said that for every dollar invested in prevention, they will save $18 in derived problems.