Department of State: Cocaine Use and Availability On The Rise Again in U.S.
According to a new report by the United States Department of State, cocaine availability and use in the U.S. has recently increased following several years of decline.
It also said that the recent increase in popularity is due to a supply increase – the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) states that close to 90% of cocaine seized in the U.S. was manufactured in Columbia.
In the last few years, coca plant crops have seen a sizable expansion – resulting in a 39% increase in production in 2014 and another 42% increase in 2015. That’s also about the time the cocaine overdose rate started to increase in the U.S., as well.
Last year, a report released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) revealed one out of twenty people in the U.S. aged 18-25 had used cocaine.
However, the report also stressed that the increase in Columbia cocaine production has yet to come to fruition, based on the time between leaf cultivation and the drug appearing on the streets.
The report also noted that the increase in coca leaf cultivation was likely due to several factors, including:
- Colombia’s country-wide end on the aerial coca eradication program in 2015
- Before the end of the eradication problem, growers had already begun to employ various techniques to avoid eradication
- Illegal coca growers began cultivating fields with improved stealth
Finally, the report emphasized the need to maintain progress while still keeping the opioid epidemic a priority:
“The opioid epidemic demands urgent action as a top priority of U.S. and international drug control efforts, but we must also remain vigilant to prevent backsliding where progress has been achieved, such as the long-term reduction in cocaine use and availability within the United States.”
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology