Congress to Review Billions in Drug Interdiction Spending
After allocating billions of dollars over the past few decades to eradicate drug crops and fund other interdiction efforts in Latin America, Congress is considering a policy review to “take a fresh look at our counternarcotics efforts here at home and throughout the Americas,” according to Rep. Elliot Engel (D-N.Y.).
AFP reported Dec. 11 that the House of Representatives approved a bill from Engel that establishes a $2-million, 10-member Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission to recommended possible changes and improvements in U.S. drug policy in Latin America and the Caribbean. The proposal must still be approved by the Senate.
Engel said that good outcomes have been “few and far between” despite the U.S. spending $11.3 billion to fight drugs in the region between 1980 and 2008, including funding programs like Plan Colombia and the Merida Initiative in Mexico.
“To tackle our nation’s horrific drug problem, we cannot simply look to solutions on the supply side,” said Engel, who noted that the commission “will assess all aspects of our drug policy, including domestic prevention and treatment programs.”