Washington’s highest government drugs official arrived in Colombia Sunday for his first visit to the country since he assumed office in May this year.
Colombia is one of the Americans’ staunchest allies in anti-narcotic efforts and authorities of both countries have been working together intensely since 2000 and are set to sign a new pact allowing U.S. military to use at least seven military bases in the South American country.
In an interview with newspaper El Tiempo, Kerlikowske said the U.S. is looking for a “a more balanced approach” in the countries’ fight against drug production and trafficking.
According to the drug czar, this approach “can not only consist of repression through the judicial system or with soldiers.”
“We want to reduce the demand. We want to look at ways that help people to leave drugs and convert themselves into productive members of society,” Kerlikowske said.
Ever since he assumed office, the drug czar has called for a renewed approach to tackle drug consumption and production and an end of war rhetoric when speaking of counter narcotics policies.