Women and Drugs in the Americas

A Policy Working Paper

Authored by: Nischa Jenna Pieris

Categories: Humanitarian Emergencies
Sub-Categories: Human Development, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), UN Resolutions
Region: Latin America and the Caribbean
Year: 2014
Citation: Pieris, Nischa Jenna. "Women and Drugs in the Americas: A Policy Working Paper." Working paper, Inter-American Commission of Women, Washington, DC, 2014,

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Executive Summary

This paper has been prepared at the request of the Member States of the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) following a meeting of its Executive Committee in February 2013. During that meeting, the CIM Secretariat presented a preliminary literature review and some of the limited data available from the Americas on women’s involvement at all levels of the question of illicit drugs. As a follow up to this initial presentation and in the context of the 43rd regular session of the General Assembly of the OAS (La Antigua, Guatemala, June 2013), with the aim of raising awareness among OAS Delegates and other stakeholders, the CIM and the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD/OAS) organized a round-table discussion on women and drugs in the Americas. The event brought together representatives from government, academia, civil society and the international community in order to share existing knowledge on how women participate in the illicit drugs industry and identify areas where research, public policy, and specific programs are needed. Thus the paper attempts to follow-up these initial activities and aims to bring together all of the information that has been collected during the ensuing period. It includes information that OAS Member States have provided on women’s involvement in drug-related crimes, and at certain levels within the chain of commercialization. The paper aims to contribute to the work of the CIM and the CICAD within the OAS, Member States and other bodies in addressing the question of illicit drugs. It offers a country-by-country review and analysis of available information, including reflections on the efficacy of current drug control policies and their consequences, as well as recommendations for public policy and other areas from a gender, development and human rights perspective.