The disastrous, brutal, and failed war on drugs has been especially punishing for Latinos in the US and across Latin America.
In Central and South America the drug war — fueled for decades by racist United States policy — has led to misery, corruption and widespread violence. In the United States it has led to the criminalization and incarceration of generations of people, mostly for low-level and nonviolent drug crimes; and discriminatory enforcement that sees poor neighborhoods and communities of color more heavily targeted by police despite their using drugs at lower rates than their wealthier and/or white counterparts.
This April, world leaders will gather at the United Nations to debate drug policy for the first time in nearly 20 years at an international convening known as UNGASS 2016. The stakes of this meeting are high — the outcomes could further entrench the world in the failed policies of the past, or they could signal the beginning of the end of the war on drugs.
President Obama is still very influential internationally. If he were to speak out in favor of common sense drug policy, his voice could help to ensure a strong outcome. That's why we're asking him to address the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on drugs and call for global drug policies focused on public health and human rights, not punishment and criminalization.