Skip to main content

The Impact of Drug Policy on the Environment

  • When
  • December 9, 2015
    1:00–8:00 p.m. (EST)
  • Where
  • Open Society Foundations–New York
    224 West 57th Street
    New York, NY 10019
    United States of America
  • Programs
  • Global Drug Policy Program

Cultivation of Drug Crops Is Causing Environmental Devastation


Drug crop cultivation has played a disproportionately large role in deforesting and degrading some of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems, including those in national parks and indigenous territories. Additionally, environmental devastation is proliferating in drug trafficking regions despite sustained investments in drug interdiction and other antitrafficking measures. How can this be?

An international panel of experts, moderated by Brian Winter, editor in chief of Americas Quarterly, discusses the role of drug crop cultivation in environmental devastation. The event also launches a brief report outlining key recommendations on the topic for UN member states to consider leading up to the 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session on drugs. Alexander Soros, a member of the Open Society Global Board and founder of the Alexander Soros Foundation, offers introductory remarks by video.


  • Kate Horner is the director of forest campaigns at the Environmental Investigation Agency.
  • Kendra McSweeney is a professor in the department of geography at Ohio State University.
  • Guillermo Ospina is a researcher with the Society & Environment team at GESC in the University of Cauca.
  • Nazih Richani is an associate professor and director of Latin American studies and political science at Kean University.
  • Brian Winter (moderator) is editor in chief of Americas Quarterly.

Read more

Subscribe to updates about upcoming Open Society events