The White House

Office of the National Drug Control Policy

Readout of White House Drug Policy Director Kerlikowske Meeting with Ambassadors from Seven Central American Nations

Washington, D.C.– Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy, met today with ambassadors to the United States from seven Central American nations to discuss the Administration’s efforts to reduce drug use and its consequences and stem the flow of drugs into the United States.  Participants included Jorge Ramon Hernandez Alcerro, Ambassador of Honduras and Pro-tempore Representative of the Central American Integration System (SICA); Nestor Mendez, Ambassador of Belize; Muni Figueres, Ambassador of Costa Rica; Francisco Altschul, Ambassador of El Salvador; Julio Martini, Ambassador of Guatemala; Francisco Campbell, Ambassador of Nicaragua; and Mario Jaramillo, Ambassador of Panama. The meeting is the second in a series of drug policy consultations dealing with reducing both the demand for and supply of illicit drugs.  

“The countries of Central America are making substantial efforts to face a significant assault from transnational criminal organizations that use the region as a transit route for illegal drugs destined for Mexico and the United States,” said Director Kerlikowske.  “Strengthening international partnerships is a key component of the President’s National Drug Control Strategy, and that involves not only providing assistance to partner nations but also recognizing our shared responsibility to reduce the demand for illicit drugs here at home.”

Insecurity and violent crime are near the top of citizens’ concerns in most countries of the Americas, and President Obama has recommitted the United States to creating practical partnerships in the hemisphere to advance shared security interests and protect our peoples. This cooperative approach is based on a deeper recognition of new and traditional threats to the safety of citizens in the continent. The strategy is grounded in our shared responsibility for addressing such challenges; the critical importance of political will, rule of law, and effective institutions of governance; and common aspirations for secure, prosperous, and inclusive societies.

In addressing insecurity and its root causes, President Obama has also underscored the importance of reducing the demand for illegal drugs that fuels many of the transnational criminal organizations responsible for violence throughout the hemisphere. The overall rate of drug use in the United States has dropped substantially over the past thirty years.  More recently, cocaine use has dropped by 40 percent, and methamphetamine use in America has been cut by half.  To build on this progress and support the drug control policies outlined in the National Drug Control Strategy, the Obama Administration has committed more than $31 billion over the past three years to drug prevention programs and support for expanding access to drug treatment for people with substance use disorders.

The Administration is coordinating an unprecedented government-wide public health and safety approach to reduce drug use and its consequences in the United States.  The President’s National Drug Control Strategy recognizes the important role prevention and treatment play in reducing the demand for drugs and creating healthier communities.

Additionally, the United States is working with the countries of Central America to strengthen citizen security, foster economic growth, and advance democracy and the rule of law.  To date, the United States has allocated $361 million in foreign assistance to support the seven nations of Central America through the Central America Regional Security Initiative  (CARSI.  CARSI seeks to create safe streets for the citizens of the region, disrupt the movement of criminals and contraband, support the development of strong and accountable institutions, reestablish government presence and security in communities at risk, and foster enhanced security and rule-of-law coordination among Central American nations.  The United States and other international donors are also supporting the  Central American Regional Security Strategy, which was developed and adopted by the nations of Central America in Guatemala City in June 2011.

To view the Central America Regional Security Initiative fact sheet, click HERE.

To view the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative fact sheet, click HERE.

For more information on U.S. efforts to reduce drug use and its consequences, visit:

www.WhiteHouse.gov/ONDCP

The Office of National Drug Control Policy seeks to foster healthy individuals and safe communities by effectively leading the Nation's effort to reduce drug use and its consequences.