WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and a former Chairman of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, today welcomed Senate passage of his legislation calling for a top-to-bottom evaluation of U.S. drug policy in the Americas. Representative Engel's Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission Act of 2015 (H.R. 1812) was included as part of the Department of State Authorities Act (S. 1635), which passed the Senate last night. Representative Engel's legislation now heads to President Obama's desk for signature into law.

“I thank my colleagues in the House and Senate for joining me in sending the Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission to President Obama's desk. Over the last few decades, we've spent billions and billions of taxpayer dollars on counternarcotics programs in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission will force us to take a fresh look at our drug policy and make sure we have the best strategy moving forward,” said Rep. Engel. “We need to have an honest assessment of what has worked and what has failed as we consider how to spend our counternarcotics dollars in the future. With heroin use on the rise here at home, our children deserve no less than a fair evaluation of our drug policy.”

The Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission will be an independent U.S. government commission that will evaluate American drug policies and programs in Latin America and the Caribbean, assess which efforts are succeeding and which are not and make recommendations to the President and Congress on future counternarcotics policies.