Monitoring of Illicit Drug Markets in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Countries


The objective of the illicit drug markets program is to update and improve information on the production, trafficking, and sale of illicit drugs in the LAC region. The emergence of synthetic drugs has created a rapidly changing drug supply market where precursors, manufacturing, trafficking, and sales (including online sales) are concerned. A lack of data on these topics is an important gap that this program aims to fill.


The Inter-American-Observatory on Drugs (OID) unit of CICAD established a technical working group on drug supply indicators that culminated in the publications listed below. The first was a report on drug supply and the second was an information bulletin on the online sales of illicit drugs. Underpinning these publications were data collection systems that were developed as well as specific research that was conducted. The information that was generated went a long way to explaining the illicit drug market in LAC, but there is also room for improvement, especially when it comes to existing data gaps. Supply data needs to be improved in Latin America and the Caribbean if this situation is to be addressed. The second publication is a paper on the sale of drugs via the internet. This seminal paper from CICAD examines how drugs are being sourced and sold using the dark web, surface web, and various social media and communication apps. There is scope to expand this research to get a better handle on how drugs being sold via the internet is a growing problem according to some experts.

Accomplishments to Date
  • Created a standard drug supply data system that combined quantitative and qualitative data.
  • Achieved almost full participation in this system by OAS member states.
  • Two major reports were published as a result of this system. 
Project Activities
  • Regional training workshops for national drug observatory personnel and for law enforcement stakeholders that contribute data and information to the system. 
  • Development of improved data collection and data management system for supply data, including updating supply indicators such as seizures, arrests, labs discovered, drug prices, and others.  
  • Annual data collection exercises  
  • Rapid Situation Assessments on internet drug sales.
  • Full implementation of on-going data collection 
  • Publications (reports and information bulletins) 
Global Level Outcomes
  • Improvement in the uniformity, availability, and quality of data on drug supply indicators  
  • Improvement of drug supply surveillance in Latin America and the Caribbean. 
  • Increased availability of drug supply data and improved regional trend analysis. 
  • Better understanding of the illicit drug market, including online sales in Latin America and the Caribbean, particularly related to synthetic drugs, new psychoactive substances, and other emerging drugs. 
  • Better quality evidence to inform the Early Warning System of the Americas (SATA), regional drug policies, and supply control activities. 
National Level Outcomes
  • Improved availability and quality of information on drug supply from law enforcement agencies. 
  • Improved national data on local drug production, trafficking, and sales. 
  • Improved trend analysis related to the trafficking of synthetic drugs, new psychoactive substances, and other emerging drugs. 
  • Better quality evidence to inform national early warning systems, national drug policies, and supply control activities. 

Marya Hynes, Chief, Inter-American Observatory on Drugs OID_CICAD [at] oas [dot] org (OID_CICAD[at]oas[dot]org) and MHynes [at] oas [dot] org (MHynes[at]oas[dot]org)

Current State Participants
Antigua & Barbuda
Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
St. Kitts & Nevis
St. Lucia
St. Vincent & Grenadines
Trinidad & Tobago
United States