For the last few years much of the war against the American drug epidemic has been focused on opioids and heroin – while law enforcement cracks down on those, cocaine has been making a comeback in the United States.
Since 2013, Columbia’s once failing cocaine crop has boomed, and we have seen the results of that in the United States. “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 the same survey, the number of young Americans who have admitted to trying cocaine for the first time increased by a huge 61% from 2013 to 2015. It also reported that 1 in 20 American adults ages 18 to 25 used the drug in 2015, with the highest percentage concentrated in the Northeast of the United States.
Also, according to samples from the cocaine that has been seized in the streets all over the United States, 90% has been Colombian.
The Washington Post has more:
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.
According to that survey, 1 in 20 American adults ages 18 to 25 used the drug in 2015, with the highest percentage concentrated in the Northeast. In New Hampshire, more than 10 percent of young adults used cocaine in 2015.
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.
Cocaine trafficking from Colombia is at “record levels,” the State Department acknowledged this week in its report, warning that even bigger loads are probably on the way. Although data for last year is not yet available, “the preliminary estimated coca cultivation and cocaine production figures for 2016 indicate a dramatic increase in cultivation and cocaine production,” the report said.
“Due to the lag time between coca cultivation and cocaine distribution, the full impact of this surge in coca cultivation likely remains to materialize,” the report added.