Washington—Today, Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, released the final report of the congressionally-mandated Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission. The report, which was transmitted to Congress this week and can be found here, provides critical recommendations that will help policymakers improve U.S. drug policy in Latin America and the Caribbean.

On Thursday December 3rd at 10:00 am, the Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing titled “The Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission: Charting a New Path Forward,” which will allow members to examine the bipartisan commission’s findings.

“Billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars have been spent on counternarcotics efforts in Latin America and the Caribbean, but the results have been few and far between,” said Chairman Engel. “The Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission’s report is a breath of fresh air, and I hope it will serve as a blueprint for the Biden-Harris Administration and the next Congress as they work to set our counternarcotics policies on a far better path.”

The report includes the following recommendations:

  • Replace the U.S. drug certification and designation process with more effective tools to assess country efforts to counter transnational crime and sanction those who fail to act since the current process “offends our partners and does little to deter corrupt practices in unfriendly nations”;
  • Empower the State Department to develop and coordinate a whole-of-government effort to counter transnational criminal organizations abroad and reduce the foreign supply of illicit drugs;
  • Develop compact-based counternarcotics and law enforcement assistance programs with foreign partners (similar to those implemented by the Millennium Challenge Corporation);
  • Reorient the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy which should develop data-driven evaluations of foreign and domestic counternarcotics efforts, establishing outcome metrics and benchmarks; and
  • Strengthen the Treasury Department’s capacity to investigate illicit financial flows, including by providing additional resources to its Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)

Background

The Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission was established through bipartisan legislation authored by Chairman Engel and included in the Department of State Authorities Act, Fiscal Year 2017 (Public Law 114-323). Its mandate was to evaluate U.S. 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. 

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