Pubdate: Mon, 30 Jul 2012
Source: USA Today (US)
Copyright: 2012 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc
Author: Aamer Madhani


Colombia is no longer the world's biggest producer of cocaine.

White House drug czar R. Gil Kerlikowske announced on Monday that
Colombia - the origin of much of the cocaine trafficked into the
United States - fell behind Peru and Bolivia in production of cocaine
in 2011. The latest estimate puts Colombia's production at 195 metric
tons, a 25% reduction from the previous year and down from 700 metric
tons in 2001.

Peru accounted for 325 tons and Bolivia for 265 metric tons, according
to the latest White House estimates.

The White House is crediting Colombia with strengthening democratic
institutions, focusing on eradication, law enforcement stepping up
targeting drug trafficking organizations, and increased foreign
investment. Kerlikowske also noted Americans consumption of cocaine
has dropped by 39% since 2006, according to the National Survey on
Drug Use and Health.

"Clearly reducing supply is incredibly helpful in reducing the demand
here in the United States," Kerlikowske said in a speech at the Center
for Strategic and International Studies in Washington on Monday. "The
second thing that I think that is really important is the educational
efforts - that are often not given the credit reducing the level of
consumption in the United States."

Kerlikowske's comments come as President Obama pushes for $10 billion
for drug education programs and drug treatment in the 2013 budget.
Obama has already spent $30 billion over the past three years on drug
use prevention and treatment programs.

Kerlikowske noted that prescription drug abuse kills more Americans
than cocaine and heroin combined, but said that there is little
evidence that drug users are "moving away from cocaine" to use
prescription drugs.

"It was a sustained effort for nearly a decade - steady strategic
pressure across more than one administration in both the United States
and Colombia," he said. "It didn't happen (due) solely to the efforts
by the United States. This was a partnership by the United States and
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