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Report: Cocaine production reaches all-time high

An expansion of coca bush cultivation is being blamed for the surge in cocaine production.
Soldiers uproot coca shrubs as part of a manual eradication operation in San Jose del Guaviare, Colombia
Posted at 1:11 PM, Mar 16, 2023

Nearly 2,000 tons of cocaine was produced in 2020, an all-time high, according to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime.

The UNODC attributes the surge in cocaine production to an expansion of coca bush cultivation, which it says doubled between 2013 and 2017. 

"In parallel, there has been a continuing growth in demand, with most regions showing steadily rising numbers of users over the past decade," the report says.

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Most cocaine that arrives in the U.S. comes from Colombia. However, the report notes that new trafficking routes are emerging. 

"Criminal groups, often from Brazil, use planes to cross the border and then boats along the river to the Atlantic," the report states. 

According to the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 4.8 million Americans over the age of 12 reported using cocaine in the past 12 months. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 24,000 people died from an overdose involving cocaine in 2021. 

In the U.S., cocaine is considered a Schedule II drug, which means it has a high potential for abuse and can lead to psychological or physical dependence. 

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