Organization of American States (OAS)

The Organization of American States is the world’s oldest regional organization, dating back to the First International Conference of American States, held in Washington, D.C., from October 1889 to April 1890. That meeting approved the establishment of the International Union of American Republics, and the stage was set for the weaving of a web of provisions and institutions that came to be known as the inter-American system, the oldest international institutional system.

The OAS came into being in 1948 with the signing in Bogotá, Colombia, of the Charter of the OAS, which entered into force in December 1951. It was subsequently amended by the Protocol of Buenos Aires, signed in 1967, which entered into force in February 1970; by the Protocol of Cartagena de Indias, signed in 1985, which entered into force in November 1988; by the Protocol of Managua, signed in 1993, which entered into force in January 1996; and by the Protocol of Washington, signed in 1992, which entered into force in September 1997.

The Organization was established in order to achieve among its member states—as stipulated in Article 1 of the Charter—"an order of peace and justice, to promote their solidarity, to strengthen their collaboration, and to defend their sovereignty, their territorial integrity, and their independence."

Today, the OAS brings together all 35 independent states of the Americas and constitutes the main political, juridical, and social governmental forum in the Hemisphere. In addition, it has granted permanent observer status to 69 states, as well as to the European Union (EU).

The Organization uses a four-pronged approach to effectively implement its essential purposes, based on its main pillars: democracy, human rights, security, and development.


Within OAS the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) is the Western Hemisphere's policy forum for dealing with the drug problem. The CICAD Executive Secretariat supports the Commission by strengthening the human and institutional capabilities and channeling the collective efforts of its member states to reduce the production, trafficking and use of illegal drugs.

CICAD was established by the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1986. Each member government appoints a high-ranking representative to the Commission, which meets twice a year. CICAD promotes regional cooperation and coordination among OAS member states through action programs, carried out by CICAD's Executive Secretariat, to:

  • Prevent and treat substance abuse;
  • Reduce the supply and availability of illicit drugs;
  • Strengthen national drug control institutions and machinery;
  • Improve money laundering control laws and practice;
  • Develop alternate sources of income for growers of coca, poppy, and marijuana;
  • Assist member governments to improve their data gathering and analysis on all aspects of the drug issue, and
  • Help member states and the hemisphere as a whole measure their progress over time in addressing the drug problem.

CICAD's core mission is to enhance the human and institutional capacities of its member states to reduce the production, trafficking and use of illegal drugs, and to address the health, social and criminal consequences of the drug trade. 

CICAD Hemispheric Guidelines on School-Based Prevention

Published by
Publication Date

As developed by CICAD's Expert Group on Demand Reduction and approved by the Commission in 2004, these guidelines speak to strategies to conduct research, create educational materials, train teachers, and carry out and evaluate prevention programs at the national level in a way that is responsive to regional, state, and local needs expressed within each school. Drug use problems threaten personal health, disrupt family integra

XVIII Meeting of the CICAD Demand Reduction Expert Group

Santiago, Chile,

The meeting will address, among other issues, recommendations for the implementation of specific policies for drug use prevention and treatment, with emphasis on trauma treatment, and selective and indicated prevention in adolescent at risk and social vulrnerability and treatment outcome indicators.

61st Regular Session of CICAD

Washington DC, United States,

The sixty-first regular session of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) will be held in Washington, D.C., April 24-26, 2017. The draft agenda for the meeting as well as all other documentation (Draft Schedule of Activities, Information Bulletin with registration instructions, reports and presentations) will be posted on CICAD’s webpage in due course.

Meeting of CICAD/OAS Demand Reduction Expert Group

Miami, United States,

The meeting will provide a forum for reflection around the review and analysis on the development of public health policies with an emphasis on demand reduction and the training strategy for professionals in the national healthcare systems within the hemisphere.

When: March 7 and 8, 2017

Evaluation Report on Drug Control for the Sixth Evaluation Round of the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM)

Published by
Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) - Organization of American States (OAS)

The Evaluation Report on Drug Control (2014) for the Sixth Evaluation Round of the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM) measures the progress of actions taken by the 34 OAS (Organization of American States) member states to address the drug problem and other related offenses. The sixth round focused on a set of 27 standard recommendations derived from the Plan of Action, 2011-2015, of the 2010 CICAD Hemispheric Drug Strategy.

The Drug Problem in the Americas: Drugs and Public Health

Published by
Organization of American States (OAS)
Publication Date

Summary and Findings

Most people do not use illicit drugs and among those who try them, only a fraction will develop patterns of dependence. Still, drug use constitutes a serious health problem for many people in the Americas. Early age of first use is associated with higher risk of dependence and problems. One of the greatest challenges is delaying or preventing use by young people.

Derecho a la salud y tabaquismo en las Américas

Una audiencia histórica. Por primera vez, la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH), de la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA), en el marco del 157 Periodo de Sesiones, concedió una audiencia temática sobre tabaquismo ante el pedido de la Fundación Interamericana del Corazón Argentina (FIC Argentina), Action On Smoking & Health (ASH) y O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law. El título de la Audiencia es Derecho a la Salud y Tabaquismo en las