The White House

Office of the National Drug Control Policy

Survey Shows Significant Drop in Worldwide Cocaine Production

Production of Cocaine in Andean Region Drops by 10 Percent over Past Year; over 40 Percent Decline since 2001

Wide Array of Other Drug Market Data Suggest Continued Decline in U.S. Cocaine Trade

 (Washington, D.C.) — Today, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released the results of the annual U.S. Government estimate measuring cocaine production in the Andean region. According to the new estimates, there has been a 41 percent drop in potential pure cocaine production capacity in the Andes since 2001, from an estimated 1,055 metric tons potential pure cocaine production at its peak in 2001 to 620 metric tons in 2012. The latest estimate is a 10 percent reduction from the previous year.

Since 2011, the potential production of pure cocaine has dropped from 305 metric tons to 290 metric tons in Peru; from 190 metric tons to 175 metric tons in Colombia; and from 190 metric tons to 155 metric tons in Bolivia.

These overall reductions in the Andean region can be traced to a variety of factors, including the strengthened U.S.-Colombia partnership forged over the past decade and the increased commitment to counternarcotics cooperation and citizen security from President Ollanta Humala and the Government of Peru. This includes strengthened democratic institutions, greater presence by the governments of Colombia and Peru throughout their territories, focused and persistent eradication, law enforcement efforts targeting drug trafficking organizations, improvements in the judicial system, alternative development, and increased foreign investment as a result of a significantly improved security environment.

Declines in the production of potential pure cocaine in the Andean Region, along with transit zone interdiction efforts by the Department of Defense, U.S. Coast Guard, and international navies, have resulted in less cocaine reaching the United States, which is consistent with declines in cocaine overdose deaths, positive workplace drug tests, retail drug purity, and cocaine seizures in the United States. Taken together, these indicators reflect a significant decline in the U.S. cocaine market since 2006. According to data from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (the largest U.S. survey on drug use), the number of Americans aged 12 or older who are current users of cocaine has dropped by 44 percent since 2006.

Other key facts: 

  • The retail purity of powder cocaine purchased in the United States has dropped by 28 percent since 2006.[i]
  • There has been a 65 percent drop in the rate of people in the U.S. testing positive for cocaine in the workplace between 2006 and mid-2012 (latest data available), from 72 to 25 out of every 10,000 workers tested.[ii]
  • Overdose deaths in the U.S. related to cocaine dropped 44 percent, from 7,448 in 2006 to 4,183 in 2010, the year for which the most recent data are available.[iii]
  • There has been a 48 percent drop in the number of cocaine seizures sent to local, state, and Federal forensic labs in the United States from 2006 to 2011 (latest data available).[iv]

In April, the Obama Administration released a science-based drug policy that addresses the national drug challenge as a public health issue, not just a criminal justice issue. The 2013 National Drug Control Strategy is built upon the latest scientific research demonstrating that addiction is a chronic disease of the brain that can be successfully prevented and treated, and from which one can recover. The Strategy directs Federal agencies to expand community-based efforts to prevent drug use before it begins, empower healthcare workers to intervene early at the first signs of a substance use disorder, expand access to treatment for those who need it, and support the millions of Americans in recovery.

The rate of overall drug use in the United States has declined by roughly one-third since the late 1970s. To build on this progress and support public health approaches to drug control, the Obama Administration has requested more than $10 billion in FY 2014 for drug education programs and support for expanding access to drug treatment for people suffering from substance use disorders. This includes a requested increase of $1.4 billion to expand treatment and prevention, the largest percentage increase in at least two decades.

 For more information about the Office of National Drug Control Policy, visit: www.Whitehouse.gov/DrugPolicyReform

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[1] 2013 National Drug Threat Assessment, DEA, May 2013

[2] Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index, March 7, 2013

[3] CDC/NCHS

[4] 2011 Annual Report, National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS), DEA, Sept. 2012