The prohibition of drugs places a huge burden on law enforcement officials, as they are responsible for punishing drug-related activities as well as mitigating the violence that emanates from the illicit drug economy. In recognition of the critical need to involve law enforcement in conversations about drug policy reform, the Strategic Meeting on Public Security and Drug Policy was held in Rio de Janeiro, convening high-level law enforcement agents and police officers from around the world.
In partnership with the Open Society Global Drug Policy Program grantee Viva Rio, two Brazilian law enforcement agencies—the State Military Police of Rio de Janeiro and the Command of Pacifier Police Units (UPP)—conducted discussions on how police action might better serve the population, drawing on successful examples of the UPP’s work in Rio de Janeiro.
As a result of the meeting, the participants published a declaration that emphasizes the need to develop smarter drug policies that leverage the community to reduce drug use, while allowing law enforcement agencies to direct their focus and resources towards combating real crimes. The declaration is available for download in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.