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Cablegate: Goc Considers Establishing Special Courts for Substance

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR SENV KCRM PTER CO
SUBJECT: GOC CONSIDERS ESTABLISHING SPECIAL COURTS FOR SUBSTANCE
ABUSERS

1. (U) SUMMARY: Colombia is looking at new strategies in the war
on drugs, including the creation of "drug courts" that would treat
drug users as addicts in need of treatment rather than as criminals.
There is no indication that this project has gone beyond the
concept state at this point. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) A recent news article reported that the Colombian delegation
to the forty-third meeting of Organization of American States'
Inter-American Commission Against Drug Abuse (CICAD, in
Spanish)announced that the Colombian Government (GOC) is studying
the possibility of creating "drug courts" for drug abusers. The
proposed courts, which already exist in the United States, Canada,
and Chile, would direct individuals convicted of drug offenses to
treatment programs rather than impose jail time.

3. (U) In closing statements at the CICAD meeting, Camilo Reyes,
Colombia's Vice-Minister of Interior, admitted that the GOC
historically has focused its attention on combating drug cultivation
and trafficking and has ignored drug treatment and prevention, and
that the creation of drug courts is an important step additional in
Colombia's drug strategy.

4. (U) COMMENT: While drugs courts would be an integral part of a
comprehensive national drug prevention policy, it should be noted
that Colombia currently does not have any such policy, and Colombia
still has no accurate statistics on drug use or abuse. The Embassy
has not seen any movement that indicates this has gone beyond the
conceptual stage at this point in time. END COMMENT

BROWNFIELD

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