printable banner

U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

2010 INCSR: Policy and Program Developments


Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Report
March 1, 2010

Share


Overview for 2009

 

“Security for our citizens must be advanced through our commitment to partner with those who are courageously battling drug cartels, gangs and other criminal networks.” — President Barack Obama

The illegal drug trade directly threatens the security interests of the United States, as well as those of the broader international community and the health and safety of our citizens. No other criminal activity can match the profits generated from illegal narcotics trafficking. This translates into an unrivaled ability for drug criminals to corrupt public officials, undermine democratic governments, and sabotage sustainable economic development. For these reasons, the United States works closely with our international partners to encourage steps to prevent the production and trafficking of illegal drugs.

To implement this objective, the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) provides technical assistance to countries most affected by the illegal drug trade. This assistance helps these countries develop their own law enforcement and criminal justice capacities to uphold their international commitments against illegal drugs. Our long-term goal is to promote the expansion of partner country counternarcotics capabilities to the point where they can sustain future development and where cooperation between countries becomes the norm. As Secretary Clinton has described, a key component of this cooperation is to reduce demand for illegal drugs in the United States.

As is the case every year, progress was far from uniform in 2009. The annual INCSR review is a snapshot of events covering a narrow timeframe, and it is important to distinguish long-term progress from short-term gains and losses. Numerical data—such as interdiction statistics or arrests of traffickers—do not fully measure the success of some countries and regions in reforming and strengthening state institutions or changing ingrained cultural habits. There are no uniform solutions to all national and regional circumstances, and the United States cannot do more to assist countries than those countries believe is in their own self-interest. One of the least tangible but most important gains that we have seen over the past decade is that virtually every government recognizes the serious threats posed by the drug trade. This international consensus is rare in the realm of foreign policy and a great advantage as we move forward into 2010 and beyond. The United States is committed to helping countries help themselves to develop the capacities necessary to enforce their laws and protect their sovereignty.

Key International Successes

Colombia’s decade-long effort to strengthen its democracy and regain control over its national territory from drug-trafficking insurgents has been remarkable. Ten years ago, large areas of Colombia were beyond the writ of the state, controlled by terrorist and criminal organizations that exploited these territorial safe-havens to promote their trafficking activities. Colombia’s people and political leadership reacted with determined resolve to defend the country’s sovereignty and re-establish the rule of law, aided by U.S. assistance programs that were dramatically accelerated during this time. President Alvaro Uribe’s program to establish “democratic security” over the country’s full territory has brought dramatic progress. With support from the United States ranging from material assistance to training, the Uribe Administration marshaled new domestic resources, increased funding for law enforcement and justice reform, and began the difficult process of re-establishing state control over the countryside. The Colombian state is no longer in danger from insurgents fueled by the drug trade, and is able to provide its citizens greater security and access to formal institutions of justice. This has allowed Colombia’s economy to grow at a rate that surpasses most countries in the Western Hemisphere, creating space for civil society and allowing Colombians to take control over their local communities.

This consolidation of the rule of law also led to measurable reductions in illegal drug production. According to the most recent estimate from the U.S. Government, potential cocaine production in Colombia dropped fully 39 percent between 2007 and 2008 from an estimated 490 metric tons in 2007 to 300 metric tons. Further, the area under cultivation dropped 29 percent during the same time frame, from an estimated 167,000 hectares in 2007 to only 120,000 hectares in 2008. Record eradication levels in 2008, along with increased government presence and the deployment of security forces in select growing regions were instrumental in achieving these results. The material support of the United States remains important towards solidifying these institutional reforms achieved to-date, but significant progress in transferring financial and operational responsibility to Colombia for several counternarcotics programs has increased local capacity and allowed the United States to reduce its support.

There is, however, much work to be done. Despite the steady progress of recent years, drug trafficking and terrorist groups continue to constitute a dangerous threat in Colombia. Countering these groups will require a sustained effort over the longer term effort by the Government and people of Colombia, along with continuing political and other support from friends and allies.

Mexico faces extraordinary challenges from international drug trafficking organizations. President Calderon and courageous police officers, judges and citizens are confronting drug trafficking organizations that are the source of high levels of violence and have undermined Mexican institutions. The threat of drug-fueled corruption is powerful, and Mexico’s long border with the United States makes our cooperative relationship there even more essential to our national interests.

In support of Mexico’s effort, Mexico and the United States have agreed on a new level of cooperation under the Merida Initiative. The Merida Initiative provides material support for Mexico to strengthen law enforcement and judicial institutions to prosecute individuals and organizations involved in the drug trade and other forms of organized crime. One of President Calderon’s top priorities in office has been to press forward the difficult but essential process of rooting out corruption from Mexico’s courts and police. In June 2008, the Mexican Congress passed constitutional reforms and legislation to overhaul Mexico’s judiciary and public security apparatus; implementing legislation is currently being considered in Mexico’s Congress. This process will require time to complete, but the systemic reform underway is essential to achieving sustainable results. Short-term law enforcement surges can achieve limited gains, but they achieve no durable progress unless domestic institutions can arrest, prosecute and incarcerate criminals and enforce the state’s authority after the surge ends. This is why the character of U.S. support for the Merida Initiative has continued to evolve, shifting from a focus on major equipment acquisition to improve operational ability in the early phase toward a longer-term emphasis on institutional development and capacity building designed to support the broader Mexican judicial and social reforms needed for confronting organized crime. The United States has also stepped up law enforcement and intelligence operations on the U.S. side of the border, including the creation of an interagency border enforcement task force to identify, disrupt and dismantle criminal organizations engaged in arms trafficking, drugs, human smuggling and trafficking and bulk cash smuggling.

The Government and people of Mexico have shown tremendous bravery in carrying this program forward, despite substantial reprisals from the cartels. We believe that the Mexican Government’s efforts are having a real impact; for the first time, trafficking organizations are facing an existential threat from the state, which they cannot win by bribery or intimidation.

There were notable signposts of progress against major Mexican drug trafficking organizations in 2009. Arturo Beltran Leyva, head of the Beltran Leyva Cartel, was killed in December in a firefight, when he refused to surrender to Mexican authorities. Top-level leaders from the Sinaloa, Beltran Leyva, Gulf and Arellano-Felix trafficking organizations were arrested. Removing these important cartel leaders has narrowed the operating space of criminal gangs, who are now fighting among themselves for diminishing territory and profits. At the institutional level, Mexico is moving forward to restructure and improve the operational capacity of the federal police, and with U.S. support, is striving to develop the means to do background investigations on the entire force, and to begin to do the same for units drawn from state and municipal police in order to stem corruption. Measured both by short-term law enforcement actions and longer-term institutional reforms, Mexico experienced historic progress in 2009.

The road ahead will not be an easy one. The drug cartels in Mexico are entrenched and powerful. The broader institutional changes needed to modernize and reform the law enforcement and criminal justice sectors can only take place gradually and over time. Carrying through on these changes will require a long-term commitment from both the Mexican Government and the people of Mexico. Mexico is on the right path, however, and the Government has laid out a solid plan for breaking the cartels and protecting public security. The United State will continue to work closely with Mexico to help implement this plan.

Confronting the “Balloon Effect” in Production and Transit Routes

Drug traffickers are adaptive, resilient and ruthless in adjusting to new enforcement pressures. Not bound by any sovereignty or legal concerns of their own, they can and do adjust operations quickly to new territories and smuggling corridors. Faced with pressure on operations in one territory, they switch operations to another. This displacement, known as the “balloon effect,” underscores the need to promote counternarcotics cooperation on a global basis. Here again, the twin challenges are political will and technical capacities. As Mexico achieves further progress against the criminal organizations operating on its territory, the most likely regions to face greater pressure from displaced traffickers are Central America and the Caribbean basin. There is growing evidence that Mexico’s drug trafficking organizations are already establishing a presence in these regions, particularly in some Central American states.

Through the Central American Regional Security Initiative, the United States will continue to assist Central American states to confront the criminal organizations, gangs and violence that plague the region, as well as support programs to strengthen institutional capabilities to investigate, prosecute and prevent corruption within law enforcement agencies. Our assistance will also help to facilitate the transfer of critical law enforcement investigative information within and among regional governments, and fund equipment purchases, training, community policing, and economic and social development programs. To address displacement to the Caribbean, the United States will begin implementing in 2010 a complementary Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), developed in close cooperation with states of the region. The CBSI aims to strengthen Caribbean partner nation capabilities, including maritime security, law enforcement, information sharing, border and migration control, transnational crime, and criminal justice.

President Obama outlined how the United States will seek to build partnerships to improve the safety of our citizens at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago:

 

Together, we have both the responsibility to act, and the opportunity to leave behind a legacy of greater prosperity and security…Just as we advance our common prosperity, we must advance our common security. Too many in our hemisphere are forced to live in fear. That is why the United States will strongly support respect for the rule of law, better law enforcement, and stronger judicial institutions.

Security for our citizens must be advanced through our commitment to partner with those who are courageously battling drug cartels, gangs and other criminal networks throughout the Americas. Our efforts start at home. By reducing demand for drugs and curtailing the illegal flow of weapons and bulk cash south across our border, we can advance security in the United States and beyond. And going forward, we will sustain a lasting dialogue in the hemisphere to ensure that we are building on best practices, adapting to new threats, and coordinating our efforts.

 

The diversification of drug transit routes is a phenomenon that extends beyond the Western Hemisphere. The United Nations and governments around the world have reported that the drug trade is becoming more fragmented, with new markets and routes in regions that do not neatly fit into the now obsolete paradigms of ‘consumer’ and ‘producer’ nations. West Africa, for example, ignored by international traffickers only five years ago, now serves as a major corridor route for cocaine consumed in Europe and markets farther east—in total, a market that is approaching the size of that of the United States. Organized crime networks that once avoided trafficking in illegal drugs have established new relationships with suppliers in source countries. Heroin routes from Afghanistan have similarly diversified, as has production of methamphetamine from beyond traditional source countries in Mexico and Burma. This underscores the need for global international cooperation and the universal implementation of law enforcement commitments codified by the UN drug control conventions and other legal instruments, such as the UN Conventions against Transnational Organized Crime and Corruption. The United States on its own can never hope to arrest every drug trafficker or dismantle every criminal network on its own. What we can realistically achieve is coordination with international partners to facilitate common goals and approaches, and assist to some extent the capacities of states to succeed.

This is also true with drug-source states where cultivation of illicit crops has shifted in response to law enforcement pressure in one area and moved to locations where conditions favor expanded drug production. Potential cocaine production in Bolivia has increased by an estimated 50 percent since 2007. The Government of Bolivia as a matter of policy has permitted increased production of coca, which is “legal” under domestic law, but contrary to international conventions of which Bolivia is a signatory. Bolivia also reduced law enforcement measures against drug production and trafficking. The United States maintains a significant counternarcotics assistance program in Bolivia and remains willing to work with Bolivia to improve its counternarcotics results.

Venezuela is a transit country for cocaine moving from Latin America to the United States and Western Europe. While Venezuela has deported some fugitives to the United States and Colombia and has participated with the U.S. Coast Guard in some maritime interdiction, Venezuela does not cooperate consistently with the United States and other countries to reduce the flow of cocaine through Venezuela. Illegal armed groups in Colombia, including two U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the National Liberation Army, are linked to drug trafficking organizations that move narcotics through Venezuela. There is strong evidence that some elements of Venezuela’s security forces directly assist these FTOs. As with Bolivia, the United States is prepared to deepen its joint work with Venezuela to help counter the increasing flow of illegal drugs through its country.

Afghanistan

In 2009, Afghanistan still produced more than 90 percent of the opium gum used to manufacture heroin worldwide—worth some 2.8 billion dollars in 2009, according to United Nations figures. Over a million and a half Afghans were involved in producing 6,900 tons of opium in 2009, according to the UN. Most poppy cultivation occurs in areas where insecurity is greatest, and moving farmers away from a crop that provides a reliable income in these areas is a challenge. The United States seeks to integrate its counternarcotics support for Afghanistan with the larger mission of defeating the insurgency and reducing corruption and crime in Afghanistan. To reduce the support the insurgency receives from narcotics, and to help connect the people of Afghanistan to effective government institutions, this approach has two main areas of emphasis: agricultural development and targeting Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs). Recognizing the need for job creation in the licit agricultural sector in order to deny recruits to the insurgency, the goal is to provide farmers with profitable, viable alternatives to poppy by undertaking both short-term efforts (i.e., distribution of wheat seed in poppy-growing areas) and longer-term projects (such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and USAID’s efforts to help farmers start growing pomegranates and grape vines that will bear fruit for years to come).

In addition, the United States will expand support for the Government of Afghanistan’s interdiction and law enforcement efforts targeted on drug traffickers and refiners. This will help break the ties between the narcotics trade and the insurgency, as well as reduce the narcotics-fueled corruption that undermines good governance and slows capacity building at district, provincial, and national government levels. By targeting drug trafficking organizations, we will go after the criminals and corrupt officials who do so much to undermine both the effectiveness and the legitimacy of the Afghan government. At the same time, the effort against illicit cultivation will continue through regaining control of areas heavily influenced by the insurgency. Most of the opium cultivated in Afghanistan is cultivated in areas of the south heavily influenced by insurgency. As the coalition and Afghan forces succeed in bringing these areas back under government control, comprehensive counternarcotics programs designed to discourage poppy cultivation can be implemented and given a chance to succeed.

In Afghanistan, political will and security are prerequisites for success. The best-trained and equipped police and military counternarcotics forces and the most comprehensive agricultural development programs are useless if drug control does not have the full confidence and support of the country’s political leadership. In some Afghan provinces, we have seen that where political leaders have had the courage and foresight to weather short-term criticism in favor of long-term results, there has been progress. Where they have vacillated or where insecurity has made counternarcotics efforts impossible, the drug trade has remained strong.

Drugs, Crime, Corruption and Instability

The drug trade both exploits and fosters corruption. Like a disease attacking a weakened immune system, the drug trade exploits conditions of economic, social or institutional shortcomings that corruption fosters. Once imbedded within the political institutions of a society, these criminal networks invariably weaken the bonds of trust between citizens and their state. This puts democratic government, sustainable economic growth, and the rule of law at risk. It also opens new opportunities for related forms of transnational crime. Some drug trafficking organizations limit themselves to illegal drugs, but most are engaged in a wider variety of crimes, and will do business with whomever offers potential for a quick profit. Criminal entrepreneurs use corruption to launder embezzled public funds and smuggle billions of dollars of illegal goods—drugs, arms, humans, natural resources, counterfeit medicines, and pirated software. This can overwhelm and corrupt law enforcement institutions and can fuel insecurity and endanger the welfare and safety of citizens. The convergence of crime, corruption, and weak governments often can devolve into the failed states and ungoverned spaces that can provide a workspace for terrorists.

The United States and many other countries are particularly concerned by evidence of links between international terrorist groups and the drug trade. Some of these linkages—such as the longstanding ties between drug trafficking, terrorist and insurgent groups in Colombia and Afghanistan—are well-documented and directly endanger the stability of these governments and, in the case of Afghanistan, the lives of U.S. service members. In Peru, remnants of the terrorist group Sendero Luminoso are increasingly reliant on drug trafficking for funding and were active in 2009, as in previous years, in ambushing and killing police and military personnel. More globally, there is evidence that individuals belonging to or sympathetic to international terrorist groups have turned to the drug trade as a revenue source. The United States is committed to working with international partners to identify and dismantle these linkages wherever they exist, and to promote the comprehensive reforms to criminal justice and law enforcement institutions necessary for long-term prevention.

Reducing Consumption: a U.S. Priority

The United States also recognizes that we cannot reasonably expect to limit the flow of illicit drugs to the United States on a sustainable basis without further reducing our own domestic demand for those drugs. Our international supply reduction efforts can and are achieving important progress, but without additional progress in reducing demand at home, our gains will be under severe pressure. As Secretary Clinton has noted, the United States has a “shared responsibility” for curbing the international narcotics trade: “We know very well that the drug traffickers are motivated by the demand for illegal drugs in the United States, that they are armed by the transport of weapons from the United States.”

The United States has made some important gains in reducing illegal drug consumption. The most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health data showed that between 2006 and 2008, regular cocaine use dropped by a third for people in the age bracket most prone to using it, and fewer young people are trying cocaine for the first time. But we have much room to improve. Reducing demand in the United States serves a multitude of interests domestically. It also promotes important foreign policy goals. Less demand will lead to fewer illegal profits, and this can help cut some of the economic taproots of international organized crime and corruption that threaten the economies, security and stability of vulnerable states. As much as it is in our own interests, we also need to reduce drug consumption to reinforce our strategic foreign policy objectives.

Next Steps

The most powerful defenses against the global drug trade are intangible—international cooperation and political will. Promoting effective, flexible law enforcement and diplomatic cooperation between governments is a central goal of U.S. foreign policy. The governments and citizens of many countries demonstrated great courage in directly confronting the threat of drug trafficking in 2009, often at great expense and short-term political cost. In the long-term, however, these sacrifices are investments towards securing a more prosperous and peaceful future. The United States is dedicated to supporting their efforts, both through cooperative engagement abroad and through reducing domestic drug consumption, principally by expanding prevention efforts and access to treatment. This is a shared responsibility, and one that we and our international partners must meet together in order to achieve lasting results.

International drug syndicates remain a formidable threat. They are resilient, have access to resources available to few governments, and can adapt quickly to changing trafficking and consumption patterns. The drug trade also exploits situations where political will is uneven, particularly between countries in the same region. In 2009, not all countries demonstrated the level of commitment that is necessary for combating such a relentless adversary. The United States seeks to cooperate with all governments in this multi-faceted challenge. Sustainable progress will require further action along a full spectrum of interventions, including: additional progress in promoting alternative livelihoods in regions where illegal drugs are cultivated; enhanced law enforcement relationships between affected governments; and strengthening and expanding the reach of effective law enforcement and judicial institutions. The United States is committed to playing a constructive role in cooperation with our international partners towards achieving these results.

 

Demand Reduction

 

Demand reduction has evolved as a key foreign policy tool for addressing the inter-connected threats of drugs, crime, and terrorism. More recently, it has become a critical component in efforts to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, particularly in countries with high numbers of intravenous drug users.

Drug abuse and addiction have a devastating impact on individual lives, families, and communities; drug abuse is inextricably linked with the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD), tuberculosis, and hepatitis C. Drug abuse is also associated with family disintegration, loss of employment or income, school failure, domestic violence, child abuse, and other social problems and criminal acts. Based on the U.S. experience in trying to reduce the demand for drugs, many foreign countries request INL-sponsored technical assistance to enhance the development of effective policies and programs to combat international narcotics abuse. INL continues to provide guidance to international partners that is based on a coordinated approach in the areas of drug prevention and treatment. INL promotes the sharing of critical information and evidence-based studies, in order to promote and preserve the stability of societies that are threatened by the narcotics trade.

Our demand reduction strategy includes a wide range of initiatives to address the needs and national security threats posed by the illicit drug trade. These efforts cover strategies to prevent the onset of drug use, intervention with drug abusers, and improvement of treatment delivery. In achieving these goals, INL supports the following:

 

  • training and technical assistance to educate governments and public organizations on science-based best practices in drug prevention and treatment;
     
  • development and support of regional and international coalitions for drug-free communities, involving private/public social institutions and law enforcement;
     
  • research and evaluation efforts, to measure the effectiveness of intended prevention and treatment programs; and
     
  • dissemination of science-based information and knowledge transfer through multilateral and regional organizations.

 

Taking into account the unique needs of female drug addicts, INL supports substance abuse treatment, training and technical assistance that addresses women’s drug treatment issues, and related violence.

As a cornerstone of a strong demand reduction strategy, and with the understanding that local problems require local solutions, INL assists foreign partners in generating funding for training to reduce substance abuse among youth and to strengthen the collaboration among organizations and agencies in the public and private sectors. Training activities have been conducted in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador Mexico, Guyana, Peru, Kenya, South Africa, and Tanzania. Other completed and on-going INL-funded demand reduction projects for Fiscal Year 2009 included:

 

  • World Federation of Therapeutic Community Conference. Held in Lima, Peru on February 6-10, 2009. Drug Abuse testament practitioners from 43 countries reviewed Therapeutic standards and norms, research findings particularly related to women and children, and recovery, the judiciary systems and special populations.
     
  • Drug Treatment Courts: In support of the Government of Mexico (GOM), first pilot program on drug treatment court; alternative to incarceration for drug-dependent offenders, in the State of Nuevo Leon, a technical course on “Treatment Alternatives to Imprisonment,” was conducted in August 18-21, 2009 in Monterrey, Mexico. Mexican participants included policymakers, judges, prosecutors, and teams of the justice and public health systems. During 2009, INL also supported the travel and visits of Mexicans representatives to drug court programs in San Diego, California and San Antonio, Texas.
     
  • Mexico/Merida: We are supporting the OAS/CICAD in our Mexico/Merida initiative and efforts for establishing a certification and training program for drug abuse counselors in six Mexican States. The OAS/CICAD and the National Council against Addiction (CONADIC) of Mexico held its first meeting in Mexico City on December 2-4, 2009 to discuss an efficient operational planning and implementation process, for 2010.
     
  • Demand Reduction Seminar: Forging Active Partnerships Toward a Drug-Free Society. Held in Cape Town, South Africa on October 19-21, 2009. Reviewed successful drug demand reduction projects in prevention and treatment programs and highlighted the latest research on specific drug use and addiction. Participants in this training collaborated and exchanged ideas on meeting the twin goals of preventing and reducing drug use.
     
  • Colombo Plan: The USG and the Colombo Plan Drug Advisory Program (DAP) established a training arm for treatment experts to prepare the process of professional certification of addiction professionals in Asia. 
     
  • Afghanistan: INL currently supports 18 treatment centers in Afghanistan. This initiative includes training of women in counseling techniques, family therapy, and support for group networks. It includes support for three substance abuse treatment programs to address women’s drug abuse treatment needs and facilities for their children.
     
  • UNODC: INL is supporting the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) global TREATNET project that provides comprehensive treatment provider training and technical assistance to improve treatment delivery systems in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The primary emphasis of the initiative is to share drug treatment best practices with the aim to assist service providers to improve the quality of services and to guide policy makers in programming.

Methodology for USG Estimates of Illegal Drug Production

 

Illegal narcotics are grown, refined, trafficked, and sold on the street by criminal enterprises that attempt to conceal every step of the process. Accurate estimates of such criminal activity are difficult to produce. The estimates on illicit drug production presented in the INCSR represent the United States Government’s best effort to sketch the current dimensions of the international drug problem. They are based on agricultural surveys conducted with satellite imagery and scientific studies of crop yields and the likely efficiency of typical illicit refining labs. As we do every year, we publish these estimates with an important caveat: they are estimates. While we must express our estimates as numbers, these numbers should not be seen as precise figures. Rather, they represent the midpoint of a band of statistical probability that gets wider as additional variables are introduced and as we move from cultivation to harvest to final refined drug. Although these estimates can be useful for determining trends, even the best USG estimates are ultimately only approximations.

Each year, we revise our estimates in the light of field research. The clandestine, violent nature of the illegal drug trade makes such field research difficult. Geography is also an impediment, as the harsh terrain on which many drugs are cultivated is not always easily accessible. This is particularly relevant given the tremendous geographic areas that must be covered, and the difficulty of collecting reliable information over diverse and treacherous terrain. Weather also impacts our ability to gather data, particularly in the Andes, where cloud-cover can be a major problem.

Improved technologies and analysis techniques also produce revisions to United States Government estimates of potential drug production. This is typical of annualized figures for most other areas of statistical tracking that must be revised year to year, whether the subject of analysis is the size of the U.S. wheat crop, population figures, or the unemployment rate. When possible, we apply these new techniques to previous years’ data and adjust appropriately, but often, especially in the case of new technologies, we can only apply them prospectively. For the present, these illicit drug statistics represent the state of the art. As new information becomes available and as the art and science improve so will the precision of the estimates.

Cultivation Estimates

With limited personnel and technical resources, we cannot look at an entire country for any hint of illicit cultivation. Analysts must, therefore concentrate their efforts on those areas that are most likely to have cultivation. Each year they review eradication data, seizure data, law enforcement investigations information, the previous year’s imagery, and other information to determine the areas likely to have cultivation. They try to improve upon the previous year’s search area if possible. They then make their best effort to estimate cultivation in the new survey area using proven statistical techniques.

 

The resultant estimates meet the USG need for an annual gross estimate of cultivation for each country. They also help with eradication, interdiction and other law enforcement operations. As part of the effort to provide a better and more comprehensive assessment, the areas surveyed are often expanded and changed, so direct comparison with previous year estimates are often impossible. The Table below shows how expanded geographic search areas have added to the estimates for one country, Colombia.

Year-to-Year Cultivation Comparison

 

Description: Chart shows year-to-year cultivation comparison. State Dept Photo
-- 2007 coca cultivation estimate: 167,000 ha*, a 6% increase over 2006

-- Reconstitution and new planting in existing survey areas

-- 4,700 ha (3%) in newly surveyed areas

-- Survey Areas increased 6% over 2006


*90% confidence interval: 156,000-178,000 ha

Numbers do not appear to add due to rounding.

 

 


Harvest Estimates

The size of the harvest depends upon a number of other factors. Small changes in soil fertility, weather, farming techniques, and disease can produce widely varying results from year to year and place to place. To add to the uncertainty, most illicit drug crop areas are not easily accessible to the United States Government, making scientific information difficult to obtain. We continually strive to improve our harvest estimates. Our confidence in coca leaf yield estimates has improved in the past few years, based upon the results of field studies conducted in Latin America. Such studies led to a reduction in our estimates of average productivity for fields that had been sprayed with herbicide, but not completely destroyed. In such fields, some, but not all of the coca bushes survive. The farmers of the illicit crop either plant younger bushes among the surviving plants or let what is left grow until harvest. In either case, the average yield of such plots is considerably less than if it had not been sprayed. Multiple studies in the same growing area over several years have helped us understand the effects of eradication and have helped us to measure the changes in average yield over time.

Coca fields which are less than a year old (“new fields”) produce much less leaf than mature fields. In Colombia, for example, fields might get their first small harvest at six months of age; in Bolivia fields are usually not harvested in their first year. The USG estimates include estimates for the proportion of new fields each year and adjust the estimated leaf production accordingly.

Processing Estimates

The wide variation in processing efficiency achieved by traffickers complicates the task of estimating the quantity of cocaine or heroin that could be refined from a crop. Differences in the origin and quality of the raw material used, the technical processing method employed, the size and sophistication of laboratories, the skill and experience of local workers and chemists, and decisions made in response to enforcement pressures all affect production.

The USG estimates for cocaine and heroin production are potential estimates; that is, it is assumed that all of the coca and opium poppy grown is processed into illicit drugs. This is not a bad assumption for coca leaf in Colombia or for opium gum in any country. In Bolivia and Peru, however, the USG potential cocaine production estimates are overestimated to some unknown extent since significant amounts of coca leaf are locally chewed and used in products such as coca tea. In Southwest and Southeast Asia, it is not unrealistic to assume that virtually all poppy is harvested for opium gum, but substantial amounts of the opium are consumed as opium rather than being processed into heroin. (The proportion of opium ultimately processed into heroin is unknown.)

Other International Estimates

The USG helps fund estimates done by the United Nations in some countries. These estimates use slightly different methodologies, but also use a mix of imagery and ground-based observations. The UN estimates are often used to help determine the response of the international donor community to specific countries or regions.

There have been some efforts, for Colombia in particular, for the USG and the UN to understand each other’s methodologies in the hope of improving both sets of estimates. These efforts are ongoing.

This report also includes data on drug production, trafficking, seizures, and consumption that come from host governments or NGOs. Such data is attributed to the source organization, especially when we cannot independently verify it.

 


Worldwide Illicit Drug Cultivation

 

2005–2009
(All Figures in Hectares)

 

 

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Poppy

 

 

 

 

 

Afghanistan

107,400

172,600

202,000

157,000

131,000

Burma

40,000

21,000

21,700

22,500

17,000

Colombia

 

2,300

1,000

 

in process

Guatemala

100

 

 

 

 

Laos

5,600

1,700

1,100

1,900

1,000

Mexico

3,300

5,000

6,900

15,000

in process

Pakistan

SEE NOTE BELOW

 

 

 

 

Total Poppy

156,400

202,600

232,700

196,400

149000

Coca

 

 

 

 

 

Bolivia

26,500

25,800

29,500

32,000

in process

Colombia

144,000

157,200

167,000

119,000

in process

Peru

34,000

42,000

36,000

41,000

in process

Total Coca

204,500

225,000

232,500

192,000

0

Cannabis

 

 

 

 

 

Mexico

5,600

8,600

8,900

12,000

in process

Total Cannabis

5,600

8,600

8,900

12,000

0

 

Notes on Colombia poppy cultivation: Partial survey in 2009 due to cloud cover. No survey was conducted in 2008. Partial survey in 2007 due to cloud cover. The 2005 survey could not be conducted due to cloud cover.

Note on Laos poppy cultivation: A partial survey of only the Phongsali growing area was conducted in 2009.

Notes on Pakistan poppy cultivation: There are no valid USG countrywide numbers for Pakistan. Please see the Pakistan Country Chapter for government of Pakistan estimates.

Notes on Peru cultivation: In the 2006 survey, the Cusco growing area could not be completed; the value for that area is an average of the 2005 and 2007 estimates. Survey areas were expanded in 2005.


Worldwide Potential Illicit Drug Production

2005-2009
(All Figures in Metric Tons)

 

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Opium

 

 

 

 

 

Afghanistan

4,475

5,644

8,000

5,500

5,300

Burma

380

230

270

340

250

Colombia

 

37

15

 

in process

Guatemala

4

 

 

 

 

Laos

28

8.5

5.5

17

10.6

Mexico

71

108

149

325

in process

Pakistan

SEE NOTE BELOW

 

 

 

 

Total Opium

4,958

6,027.5

8,439.5

6,182

5,560.6

Coca Leaf

 

 

 

 

 

Bolivia

36,000

37,000

38,500

43,500

in process

Colombia

151,000

158,000

150,000

87,500

in process

Peru

52,000

54,500

43,500

43,500

in process

Total Coca Leaf*

239,000

249,500

232,000

174,500

0

Potential Pure Cocaine

 

 

 

 

 

Bolivia

115

115

120

195

in process

Colombia

525

550

535

295

in process

Peru

250

265

210

215

in process

Total Potential Pure Cocaine

890

930

865

705

0

Cannabis

 

 

 

 

 

Mexico (marijuana)

10,100

15,500

15,800

21,500

in process

Total Cannabis

10,100

15,500

15,800

21,500

0

 

Notes on Colombia opium production: Partial survey in 2009 due to cloud cover. No survey was conducted in 2008. Partial survey in 2007 due to cloud cover. The 2005 survey could not be conducted due to cloud cover.

Note on Pakistan opium production: There are no valid USG countrywide numbers for Pakistan. Please see the Pakistan Country Chapter for government of Pakistan estimates.

Note on Laos poppy production: A partial survey of only the Phongsali growing area was conducted in 2009.

Note on Bolivia coca leaf production: In 2006, CNC revised the 2002-05 values due to new yield information.

Note on Colombia coca leaf production: New research in 2007 led to revised leaf and cocaine production figures for 2003—2006. Survey areas were expanded greatly in 2005, and to a lesser extent in 2006 and 2007.

Notes on Peru coca leaf production: In the 2006 survey, the Cusco growing area could not be completed; the value for that area is an average of the 2005 and 2007 estimates. Survey areas were expanded in 2005. The 2001- 2005 values were revised in 2007 to reflect new yield numbers for immature fields.


Parties to the 1988 UN Convention


 

Country

Date Signed

Date Became a Party

1. Afghanistan

20 December 1988

14 February 1992

2. Albania

Accession

27 June 2001

3. Algeria

20 December 1988

9 May 1995

4. Andorra

Accession

23 July 1999

5. Angola

Accession

26 October 2005

6. Antigua and Barbuda

Accession

5 April 1993

7. Argentina

20 December 1988

28 June 1993

8. Armenia

Accession

13 September 1993

9. Australia

14 February 1989

16 November 1992

10. Austria

25 September 1989

11 July 1997

11. Azerbaijan

Accession

22 September 1993

12. Bahamas

20 December 1988

30 January 1989

13. Bahrain

28 September 1989

7 February 1990

14. Bangladesh

14 April 1989

11 October 1990

15. Barbados

Accession

15 October 1992

16. Belarus

27 February 1989

15 October 1990

17. Belgium

22 May 1989

25 October 1995

18. Belize

Accession

24 July 1996

19. Benin

Accession

23 May 1997

20. Bhutan

Accession

27 August 1990

21. Bolivia

20 December 1988

20 August 1990

22. Bosnia and Herzegovina

Succession

01 September 1993

23. Botswana

Accession

13 August 1996

24. Brazil

20 December 1988

17 July 1991

25. Brunei Darussalam

26 October 1989

12 November 1993

26. Bulgaria

19 May 1989

24 September 1992

27. Burkina Faso

Accession

02 June 1992

28. Burundi

Accession

18 February 1993

29. Cambodia

Accession

7 July 2005

30. Cameroon

27 February 1989

28 October 1991

31. Canada

20 December 1988

05 July 1990

32. Cape Verde

Accession

08 May 1995

33. Central African Republic

Accession

15 October 2001

34. Chad

Accession

09 June 1995

35. Chile

20 December 1988

13 March 1990

36. China

20 December 1988

25 October 1989

37. Colombia

20 December 1988

10 June 1994

38. Comoros

Accession

1 March 2000

39. Congo, Democratic Republic of

 

28 October 2005

40. Cook Islands

Accession

22 February 2005

41. Costa Rica

25 April 1989

8 February 1991

42. Cote d’Ivoire

20 December 1988

25 November 1991

43. Croatia

Succession

26 July 1993

44. Cuba

7 April 1989

12 June 1996

45. Cyprus

20 December 1988

25 May 1990

46. Czech Republic

Succession

30 December 1993

47. Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Accession

19 March 2007

48. Democratic Republic of the Congo

20 December 1988

28 October 2005

49. Denmark

20 December 1988

19 December 1991

50. Djibouti

Accession

22 February 2001

51. Dominica

Accession

30 June 1993

52. Dominican Republic

Accession

21 September 1993

53. Ecuador

21 June 1989

23 March 1990

54. Egypt

20 December 1988

15 March 1991

55. El Salvador

Accession

21 May 1993

56. Eritrea

Accession

30 January 2002

57. Estonia

Accession

12 July 2000

58. Ethiopia

Accession

11 October 1994

59. European Economic Community

8 June 1989

31 December 1990

60. Fiji

Accession

25 March 1993

61. Finland

8 February 1989

15 February 1994

62. France

13 February 1989

31 December 1990

63. Gabon

20 December 1989

10 July 2006

64. Gambia

Accession

23 April 1996

65. Georgia

Accession

8 January 1998

66. Germany

19 January 1989

30 November 1993

67. Ghana

20 December 1988

10 April 1990

68. Greece

23 February 1989

28 January 1992

69. Grenada

Accession

10 December 1990

70. Guatemala

20 December 1988

28 February 1991

71. Guinea

Accession

27 December 1990

72. Guinea-Bissau

Accession

27 October 1995

73. Guyana

Accession

19 March 1993

74. Haiti

Accession

18 September 1995

75. Honduras

20 December 1988

11 December 1991

76. Hungary

22 August 1989

15 November 1996

77. Iceland

Accession

2 September 1997

78. India

Accession

27 March 1990

79. Indonesia

27 March 1989

23 February 1999

80. Iran

20 December 1988

7 December 1992

81. Iraq

Accession

22 July 1998

82. Ireland

14 December 1989

3 September 1996

83. Israel

20 December 1988

20 May 2002

84. Italy

20 December 1988

31 December 1990

85. Jamaica

2 October 1989

29 December 1995

86. Japan

19 December 1989

12 June 1992

87. Jordan

20 December 1988

16 April 1990

88. Kazakhstan

Accession

29 April 1997

89. Kenya

Accession

19 October 1992

90. Korea

Accession

28 December 1998

91. Kuwait

2 October 1989

3 November 2000

92. Kyrgyz Republic

Accession

7 October 1994

93. Lao Peoples Democratic Republic

Accession

1 October 2004

94. Latvia

Accession

24 February 1994

95. Lebanon

Accession

11 March 1996

96. Lesotho

Accession

28 March 1995

97. Liberia

Accession

16 September 2005

98. Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

Accession

22 July 1996

99. Liechtenstein

Accession

9 March 2007

100. Lithuania

Accession

8 June 1998

101. Luxembourg

26 September 1989

29 April 1992

102. Macedonia, Former Yugoslav Rep.

Accession

13 October 1993

103. Madagascar

Accession

12 March 1991

104. Malawi

Accession

12 October 1995

105. Malaysia

20 December 1988

11 May 1993

106. Maldives

5 December 1989

7 September 2000

107. Mali

Accession

31 October 1995

108. Malta

Accession

28 February 1996

109. Mauritania

20 December 1988

1 July 1993

110. Mauritius

20 December 1988

6 March 2001

111. Mexico

16 February 1989

11 April 1990

112. Micronesia, Federal States of

Accession

6 July 2004

113. Moldova

Accession

15 February 1995

114. Monaco

24 February 1989

23 April 1991

115. Mongolia

Accession

25 June 2003

116. Morocco

28 December 1988

28 October 1992

117. Mozambique

Accession

8 June 1998

118. Myanmar (Burma)

Accession

11 June 1991

119. Namibia

Accession

6 March 2009

120. Nepal

Accession

24 July 1991

121. Netherlands

18 January 1989

8 September 1993

122. New Zealand

18 December 1989

16 December 1998

123. Nicaragua

20 December 1988

4 May 1990

124. Niger

Accession

10 November 1992

125. Nigeria

1 March 1989

1 November 1989

126. Norway

20 December 1988

14 November 1994

127. Oman

Accession

15 March 1991

128. Pakistan

20 December 1988

25 October 1991

129. Panama

20 December 1988

13 January 1994

130. Paraguay

20 December 1988

23 August 1990

131. Peru

20 December 1988

16 January 1992

132. Philippines

20 December 1988

7 June 1996

133. Poland

6 March 1989

26 May 1994

134. Portugal

13 December 1989

3 December 1991

135. Qatar

Accession

4 May 1990

136. Romania

Accession

21 January 1993

137. Russia

19 January 1989

17 December 1990

138. Rwanda

Accession

13 May 2002

139. St. Kitts and Nevis

Accession

19 April 1995

140. St. Lucia

Accession

21 August 1995

141. St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Accession

17 May 1994

142. Samoa

Accession

19 August 2005

143. San Marino

Accession

10 October 2000

144. Sao Tome and Principe

Accession

20 June 1996

145. Saudi Arabia

Accession

9 January 1992

146. Senegal

20 December 1988

27 November 1989

147. Seychelles

Accession

27 February 1992

148. Sierra Leone

9 June 1989

6 June 1994

149. Singapore

Accession

23 October 1997

150. Slovakia

Succession

28 May 1993

151. Slovenia

Succession

6 July 1992

152. South Africa

Accession

14 December 1998

153. Spain

20 December 1988

13 August 1990

154. Sri Lanka

Accession

6 June 1991

155. Sudan

30 January 1989

19 November 1993

156. Suriname

20 December 1988

28 October 1992

157. Swaziland

Accession

3 October 1995

158. Sweden

20 December 1988

22 July 1991

159. Switzerland

16 November 1989

14 September 2005

160. Syria

Accession

3 September 1991

161. Tajikistan

Accession

6 May 1996

162. Thailand

Accession

3 May 2002

163. Tanzania

20 December 1988

17 April 1996

164. Togo

3 August 1989

1 August 1990

165. Tonga

Accession

29 April 1996

166. Trinidad and Tobago

7 December 1989

17 February 1995

167. Tunisia

19 December 1989

20 September 1990

168. Turkey

20 December 1988

2 April 1996

169. Turkmenistan

Accession

21 February 1996

170. UAE

Accession

12 April 1990

171. Uganda

Accession

20 August 1990

172. Ukraine

16 March 1989

28 August 1991

173. United Kingdom

20 December 1988

28 June 1991

174. United States

20 December 1988

20 February 1990

175. Uruguay

19 December 1989

10 March 1995

176. Uzbekistan

Accession

24 August 1995

177. Vanuatu

 

26 January 2006

178. Venezuela

20 December 1988

16 July 1991

179. Vietnam

Accession

4 November 1997

180. Yemen

20 December 1988

25 March 1996

Country

Date Signed

Date Became a Party

181. Yugoslavia

20 December 1988

3 January 1991

182. Zambia

9 February 1989

28 May 1993

183. Zimbabwe

Accession

30 July 1993

Signed but Pending Ratification

 

 

1. Holy See

20 December 1988

 

Other

 

 

1. Anguilla

 

Not UN member

2. Aruba

 

Not UN member

3. Bermuda

 

 

4. BVI

 

Not UN member

5. Republic of the Congo

 

 

6. Hong Kong

 

Not UN member

7. Marshall Islands

 

 

8. Papua New Guinea

 

 

9. Taiwan

 

Not UN member

10. Turks & Caicos

 

Not UN member

 

 

 




Back to Top
Sign-in

Do you already have an account on one of these sites? Click the logo to sign in and create your own customized State Department page. Want to learn more? Check out our FAQ!

OpenID is a service that allows you to sign in to many different websites using a single identity. Find out more about OpenID and how to get an OpenID-enabled account.