North American Cocaine Use Is Way Up. Colombia's Coca Boom Might Be Why
Colombian soldiers spray chemicals to kill coca plants in Tumaco. Eradication efforts have slowed recently. (Colombian Defense Ministry/AFP/Getty Images)
While much of the recent attention on drug abuse in the United States has focused on the heroin and opioid epidemic, cocaine has also been making a comeback. It appears to be a case of supply driving demand.
After years of falling output, the size of Colombia's illegal coca crop has exploded since 2013, and the boom is starting to appear on U.S. streets.
"There are troubling early signs that cocaine use and availability is on the rise in the United States for the first time in nearly a decade," the State Department noted this week in its annual report on the global narcotics trade.
According to test samples of the drug seized on the streets, 90 percent of the cocaine for sale in the United States is of Colombian origin, according to the report.
The number of overdose deaths in the United States involving cocaine in 2015 was the highest since 2006 and the second-highest since 1999, the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported in December.
And the number of young Americans who admitted to trying cocaine for the first time increased a whopping 61 percent from 2013 to 2015, the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health found.
...This surge in consumption can be traced directly to Colombia's bumper harvest. The country's illegal coca crop doubled between 2013 and 2015, reaching nearly 400,000 acres. That's almost twice as much as the combined output of Peru and Bolivia, the world's second- and third-largest producers.
Read the rest at The Washington Post
Related: New Report Shows 90% of U.S. Cocaine Is Funneled Through Mexico (MRCtv)
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