Last week, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador released a plan calling for significant changes to the country’s drug policy, and inviting the United States to pursue the same.
In his National Development Plan for 2019-2024, President López Obrador (also known as AMLO) outlined the goals of decriminalizing illegal drugs in Mexico and diverting funds used for narcotics enforcement toward “massive, but personalized” treatment programs for drug abusers, CNBC reported.
According to the president’s policy statement, such drugs would not become legalized, but authorities would start to implement enforced medical treatments and detox programs in place of drug arrests.
The statement also called for cooperation on these issues between Mexico and the US, where over a decade of intense drug war have fueled an estimated 150,000 organized crime-related deaths, and left nearly 40,000 Mexican citizens still missing.
Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, Executive Director for the nonprofit Drug Policy Alliance, commented in a statement that President López Obrador “rightly [identified] the prohibition of drugs” as one of the biggest causes of violence and corruption in his country.
“The next step is to translate words into action, by pursuing both a domestic and international agenda of drug policy reform, grounded in respect for human rights,” she wrote.
As Newsweek pointed out, a report released last October by the International Drug Policy Consortium concluded that the past decade of the global war on drugs has seen a 145% increase in drug-related deaths, with consumption and illegal trafficking of drugs “at record levels.”
Drug overdose deaths around the world have also skyrocketed, the group found, including 71,000 that occurred in the US in 2017 alone.