By International Crisis Group. Since 1961, the international community has invested huge resources to enforce the UN mandate to create a “drug free” world. Yet, after decades of interdiction and eradication, organised crime around the globe has merely shifted routes and markets. Massive corruption, violence and human rights abuses are consequences of a too often militarised response. World leaders who meet 19-21 April at the UN Special Session on drugs (UNGASS) must do much more than review the struggle. They must begin to fix its flaws, stem the bloodshed and bolster societies besieged by transnational crime. Crisis Group recommends that UNGASS draw lessons from a history of failed strategies and poor results and from our field experience to look closely at Latin America, where cartels outgun national police, coerce and corrupt officials and produce countless victims in a battle to control drug production, transport corridors and distribution networks.

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