Pubdate: Sun, 3 Aug 2008
Source: New York Times Magazine (NY)
Page: 9
Copyright: 2008 The New York Times Company
Note: The New York Times Magazine is a section of the Sunday edition 
of the New York Times
Author: John Walters


Daniel Kurtz-Phelan states in his article (July 13) that there "has
been no significant decrease in drug flows out of Colombia or in the
availability of cocaine or heroin in the United States."

Law-enforcement officials in 38 U.S. cities, however, have reported
decreased availability of cocaine since January 2007. This coincides
with a 30 percent jump in the price per gram of cocaine on American
streets over the past year.

Even The Times covered the significance of this rise in price and its
effect on availability in an article published in October 2007
("Citing Price Rise, U.S. and Mexico See Antidrug Progress"). Since
then, positive drug-test rates for cocaine among our work force have
been in a free fall, reaching their lowest levels in 10 years. We've
also seen even more dramatic declines in the effective availability of
heroin, particularly east of the Mississippi, where the bulk of
Colombian heroin is sold, because huge drops in potential production
of heroin in Colombia have led to decreased purity and increased price
of the drug here.

To suggest that decimating Colombia's leading cocaine-producing
organization, the FARC, record seizures of drugs in transit and
relentless coca-crop eradication are not making a difference is a
disservice to the thousands of American and Colombian public officials
who are saving lives in both of our nations by successfully disrupting
the illegal market for drugs.

John Walters


National Drug Control Policy

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