Policy ForumConservation

Drug Policy as Conservation Policy: Narco-Deforestation

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Science  31 Jan 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6170, pp. 489-490
DOI: 10.1126/science.1244082

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The watershed 2013 report, The Drug Problem in the Americas (1), highlights a shift toward multilateral support for hemispheric drug policy reform. This report by the Organization of American States (OAS) reviews failures of the U.S.-led prohibitionist “war on drugs” and urges states to reconsider orthodox “supply-side” strategies (including interdiction and drug crop eradication), and to focus more on demand-side policy experimentation. In Central America, a key zone of drug transit that is being ripped apart by narco-fueled violence and corruption (2, 3), the push for reform signals hope that the conditions fueling drug traffickers' profits and corrosive political influence may eventually be dismantled (4).