U.S REPORT ON COCAINE PRODUCTION APPEARS TO BE IN STARK CONTRAST WITH LAST WEEKS REPORT FROM THE UN
August 2012 Beckley Foundation
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.
The report by the Office of National Drug Control Policy diverged from a U.N. monitor’s report last week that estimated Colombian cocaine production at a much higher level. No reason was given for the disparity in the reports, which usually track each other closely.
These seemingly contradictory reports will undoubtedly raise a few eyebrows with under 100 days to go until the next election in the United States. Drug policy reform has become hot on the agenda in recent months with many South American leaders turning up the pressure on the U.S. to end the ‘War on Drugs.’ As this shift in political thinking has taken place Federal action against medical marijuana States Side has been causing all kinds of unwanted controversy for the Obama administration who now more than ever need all the public support they can get.
It must be noted that statistical reports are always a matter of interpretation, which is inevitably determined by a political stance or institutional interest. However, these latest statistics from the ONDCP are of particular interest given their irregular differences with those published only a matter of days ago by the UN.
Given that Obama and his administration has suffered such a barrage of criticism over its failings with its deeply flawed U.S. drug policy in recent months, this much needed good news must be at least treated with a healthy level of scepticism.