Colombia, once infamously branded as the cocaine capital of the world, has been working for years to rectify the damage caused to its reputation at the global level. In 2000, “Plan Colombia,” a massive military and diplomatic initiative, funded by the U.S., did seem to introduce drastic changes across the drug-ravaged nation. The aim was to eradicate Colombian cocaine cartels and liberate the country from the stronghold of drug mafias, right-wing militias and leftist guerrillas, who were largely responsible for the malfunctioning and faltering economy.
One major example of the change can be seen in the lowlands surrounding the town of La Hormiga, near the border with Ecuador, which experienced a coca crop boom in the 1990s with bright green coca leaf plantations dominating the region. However, two decades later, the scenario seems to be different, with cattle grazing becoming prominent where the drug once grew and former coca cultivators having taken to fishing.
However, the question that arises is whether the governmental efforts managed to completely exterminate the presence of the drug across Colombia. Unfortunately, the 2017 report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), reveals an astonishing spike in the growth of areas under the coca crops, by 44 percent, in 2014 and 39 percent in 2015. The report further states that the area has expanded from 40,000 hectares in 2013 to 69,000 hectares in 2014, and further to 96,000 hectares in 2015, covering regions of Cauca, Nariño, Putumayo, Caquetá and Norte de Santander.
Why this is important is that the spike in coca production in Colombia seems to have a direct correlation with the amount of cocaine seized by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officials, across all ports of entry. In the fiscal year 2017, CBP officers confiscated over 121,100 pounds of cocaine, across 328 ports of entry, as compared to the 58,300 pounds seized during the fiscal year 2016 and 49,300 pounds in the fiscal year 2015.
Speaking about the alarming surge in coca cultivation, at a time when many believed matters were under control, José Ángel Mendoza, the head of Colombia’s counter-narcotics police, commented that the country was going through a tough historical moment and the figures were indicative of the state of affairs as of Dec. 31, 2016, and that a lot has changed since then. Nevertheless, experts admit that the coca crop is flourishing in Colombia even after 10 years of decline.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officials say that more and more traffickers are smuggling cocaine into the state of Florida since 2007. In fact, according to the NBC Miami, the CBP officers in Florida seized about 9,500 pounds of cocaine in 2015, a figure which is 61 percent more than that of 2014.
Journey of cocaine, from Colombia to America
What emerged during the early 70s as an inconsequential smuggling activity has today transformed into a mammoth-sized cocaine empire in Colombia. Studies suggest that some of the deadliest global ultra-modern narcotic trafficking organizations manage operations across the three Andean nations of Colombia, Bolivia and Peru, which have earned the ill repute of being the world’s largest producers of cocaine. However, these countries attribute their expanding success to the ever-growing demand for cocaine in the American markets, making it the largest consumer of the drug, across the globe.
Nowadays, the majority of drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) have invested in state-of-the-art technologies and the latest smuggling equipment to transport colossal amounts of cocaine clandestinely through the Central American-Mexican corridor, which runs parallel to the Pacific coast. Moreover, this corridor also happens to be the most preferred route to push drug consignments onto American territory due to the negligible presence of oversight agencies in these areas. On the other hand, there are also significant drug consignments reaching the U.S. via the Caribbean countries on the eastern coast.
The general modus operandi of Colombian cocaine cartels involves shipping huge loads of drugs from Colombia, to Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala or other intermediate stops in Mexico, from where they are flooded onto the U.S. soil. Studies suggest that a kilogram of cocaine making it to Central America is estimated at a street value of $10,000. This shoots up to anywhere between $12,000 to $15,000 at the U.S. border, and becomes even more expensive once it reaches American cities. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), cocaine is the second most popular illegal recreational drug in the U.S. after marijuana and prescription opioids. Nevertheless, cocaine tops the list of drugs responsible for ensuring the maximum number of visits to the emergency rooms (ER).
Sadly, while the nation is already grappling with the consequences of the ongoing opioid epidemic, Colombian drug cartels have got back to their former business of flooding American streets with the dangerous white powder that has already claimed innumerable victims in the past years. According to Justin Miller, intelligence chief for the DEA’s Miami field division, “There is a mountain of cocaine, much of it is headed our way. We already see these drug combinations, and cocaine deaths are going up significantly.”
Addiction treatment is possible
Cocaine is known to create immense psychological dependence by stimulating the key reward centers in the brain, causing regular users to develop high levels of tolerance to the drug, wherein they often end up experiencing even more powerful cravings for higher doses of it to feed their addiction.
Unfortunately, most individuals fall prey to an addiction more quickly than they might ever realize. The only way to break free from the clutches of deadly substances is to undergo a specialized cocaine addiction treatment at a professional cocaine addiction rehab to combat the life-wrecking effects of the harmful drug.
If you or your loved one is battling an addiction to cocaine, call our 24/7 helpline number or chat online with one of our representatives to know about the most effective cocaine addiction recovery programs at our state-of-the-art centers. Sovereign Health understands the plight of someone who is unable to discontinue the use of cocaine despite the negative impact on his or her life. Our customized cocaine addiction help programs at Sovereign Health of San Clemente are designed to treat the person holistically.