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US still world’s biggest cocaine market

A UN drugs report says the United States remains the biggest market for cocaine in the world, but European cocaine demand is rapidly catching up.

In its annual report, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime also says global coca cultivation fell by one-sixth in 2010, accompanied by a significant drop in cocaine production in Colombia.


It says Peru has become the world’s largest producer of coca, the plant used to make cocaine, knocking long-time leader Colombia into second place.

The agency says nearly 5 percent of the world’s population took illicit drugs at least once in the previous year, with many users turning from traditional opiates to synthetic and prescription drugs.

The report listed cannabis as the most widely produced and consumed illicit drug.

In its annual World Drug Report, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said heroin consumption has stabilized in Europe while cocaine consumption has declined in North America, which it described as “the most lucrative markets” for those drugs. Reuters

In 2009, the use of cocaine had substantially declined in North America, although the 5.7 million users there accounted for more than a third of all cocaine users worldwide. Reuters

“Well, I think it’s a much greater use of cocaine among teenage kids, it’s no longer the drug of middle class dinner parties. It’s now a cheaper substitute than ecstasy was in the 80s and 90s and there’s a much greater availability, particularly in Spain, the UK, and Italy which I think are the countries that use it the most in Europe,” says the Home Affairs Editor of British newspaper The Guardian. Euronews


On June 17, 1971, President Richard Nixon declared that “Public enemy No. 1 in the United States is drug abuse.”

Despite all the money thrown at the problem, narcotics are cheaper and more widely available than ever in the U.S., according to the government’s own National Drug Threat Assessment.

Even adjusting for inflation, Nixon’s $100 million annual budget for the “War on Drugs” has multiplied 50 times: the Obama administration has asked Congress for $26.2 billion next year.

Meanwhile, since 1971, the federal government has spent almost a trillion taxpayer dollars fighting drugs. A report from the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee disclosed that the government awards the majority of counter-narcotics contracts to five large defense corporations.

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