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The White House
For Immediate Release

Survey Shows Significant Drop in Cocaine Production in Colombia

Production of Cocaine in Colombia Drops by 25 Percent over Past Year; over 70 Percent Decline since 2001 

Wide Array of Other Drug Market Data Suggest Significant Disruption 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 Colombia.  According to the new estimates, there has been a 72 percent drop in cocaine pure production capacity in Colombia since 2001, from an estimated 700 metric tons potential pure cocaine production at its peak in 2001 to 195 metric tons in 2011.  The latest estimate is a 25 percent reduction from the previous year.  The new survey now places Colombia behind Peru (325 metric tons in 2010) and Bolivia (265 metric tons in 2011) in cocaine production.

These reductions can be traced to a variety of factors that resulted from the strengthened U.S.-Colombia partnership forged through Plan Colombia.  These included strengthened democratic institutions, greater presence by the Government of Colombia throughout its territory, 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 Colombia are concurrent with the decline of cocaine overdose deaths, positive workplace drug tests, retail drug purity and cocaine seizures in the United States. Taken together, these indicators reflect a significant disruption in the U.S. cocaine market since 2006.  According to data from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health – the largest U.S. survey on drug use - the number of Americans aged 12 and older who are current users of cocaine has dropped by 39 percent since 2006.  

Other key facts:

  • The retail purity of powder cocaine purchased in the United States has dropped by 28 percent since 2006.  (DEA)
  • There has been a 63 percent drop in the rate of people in the U.S. testing positive for cocaine in the workplace between 2006 and 2011, from 72 to 27 out of every 10,000 workers tested.  (Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index)
  • Unintentional overdose deaths in the U.S. related to cocaine dropped 41% from 6,726 in 2006 to 3,988 in 2009, the year for which the most recent data are available. (CDC/NCHS)
  • There has been a 43 percent drop in the number of cocaine seizures collected from local, state, and federal forensic labs in the U.S. since 2006.  (DEA NFLIS)

 In April, President Obama released the 2012 National Drug Control Strategy, the Administration’s primary blueprint for drug policy in the United States. The new Strategy promotes a “third way” approach to drug policy that supports alternatives to a law-enforcement-centric “war on drugs” or drug legalization. The new drug policy strategy outlines specific actions to be undertaken throughout the Federal Government to reform U.S. drug policy through innovative and evidence-based public health and safety approaches, which include expanding access to drug treatment and recovery support programs, breaking the cycle of drug use, crime, and incarceration, and supporting youth outreach programs that prevent drug use before it begins. 

The rate of overall drug use in the United States has declined by roughly 30 percent since 1979. To build on this progress and support public health approaches to drug control, the Obama Administration has requested over $10 billion for drug education programs and support for expanding access to drug treatment for people suffering from substance use disorders in FY 2013. This will build upon the $30 billion already spent over the past three years on drug use prevention and treatment. 

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

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