Readout of White House Drug Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske’s Meeting with Colombian President Juan Santos
Bogota, Colombia – Today, White House Drug Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske, met with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in Bogota, Colombia to discuss a number of important issues, including the United States’ valued relationship with Colombia, ongoing counternarcotics cooperation between the two nations and support for hemispheric drug prevention, treatment and alternative development programs.
During the meeting, President Santos and Director Kerlikowske discussed recent indicators that point to improved security and stability throughout Colombia, including increased seizures of cocaine, historic decreases in coca cultivation and cocaine production in Colombia, and dramatic declines in terrorist attacks, kidnappings and murders and how these gains can be sustained over time. Kerlikowske also discussed with President Santos how increased efforts to reduce the consumption of drugs in the U.S. to support regional drug supply reduction efforts.
“Colombia’s progress in improving security, reducing the influence of drug cartels, improving the economic situation for its people, and stabilizing the country is nothing short of astonishing and serves as a beacon of hope for other nations struggling with the threat to democracy posed by drug trafficking and related crime,” Director Kerlikowske said.
According to the most recent U.S. Government estimates of cocaine production in Colombia, the production of cocaine has declined substantially – from an estimated 700 metric tons in 2001 to only 270 tons in 2009 – a 61 percent drop. Additionally, data from the largest survey on drug use in the United States show that the number of Americans aged 12 or older who are current users of cocaine has dropped by 21 percent since 2007, from an estimated 2.1 million users in 2007 to an estimated 1.6 million users in 2009.