Latin American Traveling Seminar

This page briefly sketches LATS and invites you to contact us in case you would like to have LATS in your city.

What is LATS?

LATS has been developed by a group of international experts in the drug field. Since its start in 1999, nine cities have been involved of which five cities had LATS from ‘A to Z’. The main objective of LATS is the development of local drug policies. Since many cities in Latin America are facing drug related problems and –at the same time- are expected to develop their own local policies due to a decentralisation process, LATS can assist local policy makers in designing a comprehensive, humane and effective drug policy to curb drug related problems.

The methodology of LATS aims at active participation, empowerment and involvement of local expertise as well as the involvement of expertise from other parts of the world. The 2001 evaluation of LATS showed that local drug policy makers and practitioners were motivated to endorse local comprehensive drug policies prioritising public health and harm reduction.

The methodology

LATS works in three phases.

In the first phase, a visit is made by the LATS co-ordination team to a particular city to meet with key-persons, to assess local needs and to visit projects and institutes. Together with local key-persons a provisional draft is made on how to strengthen local drug policies. A central person is appointed, who is responsible for the creation of a local multidisciplinary task force and the organisation of a three-day seminar. This central person is urged to involve as many partners as possible in the seminar.

In the second phase, a three-day seminar takes place. This seminar follows a fixed pattern according to the principles:

The seminar involves local, national and international experts and consists of plenary sessions and working groups. At the end of the seminar conclusions are drawn and a concrete plan of action is presented.

In the third phase, the LATS co-ordination team returns to the city to discuss the progress and to check whether further support is needed.


LATS has access to limited national and international funds to cover costs of the national and international input and pay for the input of the LATS co-ordination team. However, all costs related to the local organisation, such as staff involvement, conference centre, translation etc. should be borne by the local community. Based on past experiences, the financial local contribution for LATS is estimated at 15.000 US$


If you would like to discuss the possibility of having LATS in your city, please contact Monica Gorgulho by email

Evaluation of pilot phase LATS

The Latin American Travelling Seminar (LATS) is an initiative of a number of experts from Latin America, Europe and the United States. Cities in Latin America are supported in the development of a local drug intervention system. Central theme of LATS is ‘local solutions for local problem’. Seven cities are involved in this project: Rosario (Argentina), Santiago de Chile, La Paz (Bolivia), Montevideo (Uruguay), Curitiba, Recife and Sao Luis (Brazil). Contact persons for LATS are: Ernst Buning and Monica Gorgulho

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