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Colombia’s thriving coca supply cause for rising cocaine addiction rate in the U.S.

March 7, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Colombia’s thriving coca supply cause for rising cocaine addiction rate in the U.S.

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Colombia is manufacturing more cocaine than ever before, leading to a major increase in use and availability of the drug in the U.S, the State Department’s annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report revealed. In 2015, 90% of the cocaine seized by the DEA was produced in Colombia.

The report, which was published on Wednesday, said the South American country was the highest generator of the world’s cocaine. It accounted for over 495 metric tons of the illegal drug’s availability around the world in 2015, which was up 60% compared to 2014’s 185 metric tons.

“There are troubling signs that cocaine use and availability is on the rise in the U.S. for the first time in nearly a decade,” the State Department indicated.

It was no mystery that the U.S. has been suffering from an opioid epidemic, which caused over 183,000 overdoses in 2015. However, the State Department’s 2017 report seems to be in line with a recent Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s report that indicated that cocaine-related deaths were the highest in 2015 since 2006.

Packets of cocaine seized by US Customs agents in Florida. ack in 2015

The report also revealed that cocaine use was up 26% in 2015, with over 986,000 individuals having indicated they used drug, while only approximately 766,000 used cocaine in 2014, The IB Times reported.

During a teleconference on Thursday, Ambassador William Brownfield, the assistant secretary of the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, said that Colombia’s rising coca crop was a “direct relationship between supply and demand, production and market.” However, he added that U.S. and Colombian authorities are working together to crack down on the rising production.

“Over the last three years, the U.S. and United Nations estimates indicate that there is an increase in coca being cultivated and cocaine being produced in the Republic of Colombia. Colombia is a friend, a partner, and, in fact, the government of which we have the closest relationship here in the Western Hemisphere over the past 17 years,” he stated.

“We are working on the problem. It is a serious problem. Both governments recognize this. Both governments realize that it is neither in the interest of Colombia, nor in the U.S., nor, frankly, any country in the Western Hemisphere or the world.”

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