Gender and drug policy: Exploring global innovative approaches to drug policy and incarceration

Gender and drug policy: Exploring global innovative approaches to drug policy and incarceration


Across the Americas, drug policies aimed at the drug trade disproportionately fall on the most vulnerable, including poor women who often enter the drug trade because of desperation, lack of opportunity, and coercion. Stuck in a vicious cycle, the incarceration of these women only heightens their situation of vulnerability and takes a toll on their families and communities.

Global Innovative Approaches highlights various programs and legal reforms from around the world that promote more effective and humane drug policies. The examples include policy reforms and health and social programs, with many of the briefs specifically tailored toward women in conditions of vulnerability. While the details of each approach vary, their goal is to reduce incarceration rates, protect human rights, address public health concerns related to drug use, and assist individuals in transitioning back into their communities after their release.

In the absence of more comprehensive reforms, these innovations can assist communities caught up in vicious cycles of poverty, social exclusion, drug use, involvement in the drug trade, and incarceration.


Global Innovative Approaches is a tool that accompanies the publication, Women, Drug Policy and Incarceration: A Guide for Policy Reform in Latin America and the Caribbean and is part of the project of Women, Drug Policy, and Incarceration being carried out by WOLA, the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), Dejusticia, and the OAS Inter-American Commission of Women.


Policy and advocacy
Published by
Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) Centro de Estudios de Derecho, Justicia y Sociedad (DeJuSticia)
Human rights
Policy and legislation
Treatment, care and rehabilitation
Alcohol/drug use disorders
Central America and the Caribbean
North America
South America