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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

15. Illegal Drugs





National Interest
Law Enforcement
Performance Goal #
Strategic Goal

Reduce the entry of illegal drugs into the United States.

Performance Goal

Increased effectiveness of foreign governments in reducing the cultivation of coca, opium poppy, and marijuana.

FY '01 RESULTS AS OF 9/30/01

The most effective means of reducing the illegal drug supply is to target drug production at the source through a combination of enforcement, eradication, and alternative development programs.  In terms of program funding, the primary U.S. focus is the Andean Region, currently the sole source of the world's cocaine production and the main source of heroin entering the United States.   The Andean Regional Initiative (ARI) combines law enforcement—eradication of coca cultivation, destruction of law and processing facilities, and interdiction of and breakup of trafficking organizations—with economic incentives, including alternative development coupled with broader institution-building in the justice and rule of law sectors.   A similar but less extensive strategy applies to the poppy-growing areas of Asia.  Despite problems, eradication and alternative development programs are achieving success.    

In Colombia.  The U.S.-funded aerial eradication program expanded considerably, spraying over 84,000 (est.) hectares of coca production (goal was 100,000) and more than 1,800 hectares (goal was 10,000) of poppy.  The threat of the expanded spray program spurred participation in the alternative development programs, leading to 33 agreements covering more than 37,000 families and approximately 37,000 hectares of coca cultivation.   However, the level of violence associated with the struggle between the leading guerrilla group (the FARC) and paramilitaries to control the drug trade in southern Colombia, especially Putumayo, coupled with poor soil conditions, poses serious obstacles to alternative development programs in that area. 

In Bolivia.  Violence against eradication authorities and alternative development workers, high coca prices, and government concessions to demands by coca growers has hampered eradication efforts and overall cultivation has increased since FY '00.  Even so, the area under cultivation remains well below the level of several years ago.     

In Peru.  Peru's eradication program proceeded largely on schedule, with 4,000 hectares of coca eradicated over the first 10 months of 2001 (2001 goal was  4,500).   Some 15,000 farmers were involved in over 27,000 hectares of licit agriculture in ex-coca cultivating area.  In three of five targeted areas, the value of licit crops exceeds that of coca.   However, Government failure to maintain pressure on coca communities allowed replanting that essentially kept pace with eradication efforts.   The area under cultivation remains well below the figure of several years ago. 

In Pakistan.   Along with Bolivia and Peru, Pakistan is a model for a successful eradication program, but for opium poppy rather than coca.  In 2001, Department programs helped Pakistan further reduce remaining pockets of production and to expand alternative development programs, including in the Khyber area, which historically has been the site of most heroin laboratories in Pakistan.   

In Thailand.  A major producer of opium poppies as late the mid-1980's, Thailand is now a net importer of opium and heroin thanks to a vigorous program of eradication and alternative development supported by U.S. funding.  In 2001, the cultivation of opium poppy remained below 1,000 hectares, for the third year in a row.

FY '01 RESULTS AS OF 9/30/01 (cont'd)

External factors.   Suspension of the air-interdiction program in Peru following the April 2001 shoot down of the missionary aircraft may have increased trafficking by air, but there is no hard data to confirm this.   Political violence directed against eradication/alternative development in Bolivia has undermined the government's political commitment.   The impact of September 11 on drug trafficking operations out of Latin America and the Caribbean is not yet clear.  Some reports indicate that traffickers are being scared off by increased vigilance at U.S. ports of entry while others claim that traffickers have been emboldened by the shift of law enforcement resources, including DEA resources, to counterterrorism efforts.

Looking ahead.  U.S. programs and policy will continue to target drug production at the source, including an expanded aerial spray program in Colombia.  Assistance to Latin America will have more of a regional focus, including greater development assistance and institution building in support of eradication and greater law enforcement for neighboring Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, and Panama to avoid spillover from counternarcotics activities in Colombia.    In Afghanistan, opium poppy cultivation is down some 98 percent from a year ago, when Afghanistan was the world's leading producer.   A key element of our approach to a post-conflict Afghanistan reconstruction will be to incorporate effective counternarcotics measures, including effective sustainment of the poppy ban.     

Validity of indicators.  Most statistics on crop cultivation/eradication are provided by host governments.  In some limited cases, such as the aerial spray program in Colombia, U.S. authorities conduct their own surveys.  Even so, there is some interagency disagreement over amount under cultivation and the number of hectares destroyed by spraying.   The United States and Mexico are currently working on a joint opium yield survey to improve estimates for heroin production in Mexico. 

Performance Indicator

FY '00 Baseline

FY '01 Target

FY '01 Actual

Number of hectares of illicit coca under cultivation




Number of hectares of illicit opium under cultivation




Number of hectares of marijuana under cultivation




Number of regional and international prevention summits





Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, Burma, Afghanistan, Thailand, Laos, India, Pakistan, Vietnam


Department of State's Regional Bureaus, INR, IO and OES, U.S. Agency for International Development


UNDCP, Drug Enforcement Agency, CIA, OAS/CICAD, ONDCP, ASEAN

Verification and Validation

Data Source:  CIA surveys, Embassy reporting             

Data Storage:  CIA, INL               

Frequency:  annual

National Interest
Law Enforcement
Performance Goal #
Strategic Goal

Reduce the entry of illegal drugs into the United States.

Performance Goal

Increased effectiveness of foreign governments in breaking up major drug trafficking organizations and in investigating, prosecuting and convicting major traffickers.

FY '01 RESULTS AS OF 9/30/01

Strengthening the counterdrug capabilities of the broad range of foreign governments requires a combination of diplomatic activism and technical support delivered through bilateral, multilateral, and unilateral channels.   This is a long-term process that has produced significant results over the years in terms of improved cooperation with partner nations and greater effectiveness by partners in countering drug production and trafficking.   

As is the case with anticrime programs, training remains a core activity.  In FY '01, the Department reached its goal of training 1,800 foreign law enforcement officers in counternarcotics (in addition to the 11,500 receiving anticrime training).

In Colombia, the United States trained and equipped a counternarcotics brigade (three battalions) and provided additional airlift (30 helicopters), as well as other equipment, for Colombian police and military counternarcotics units. The Colombian Army's counternarcotics brigade found and destroyed more than 800 base labs (target was 370) and 21 HCL labs (target was 15).   Colombia extradited 23 drug lords to the United States, twice the annual rate of the previous 3 years.   We also designated the Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), a rightwing paramilitary group that derives some of it financing from drug-trafficking, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and are working to disrupt its financing network. 

In Mexico.   Most illegal drugs entering the United States come through Mexico.  Bilateral cooperation improved considerably in 2001 following President Fox's inaugural pledge for an all-out effort to dismantle the international drug cartels.  The Department revamped its programs to support the Fox administration's criminal justice reform plan, concentrating on strengthening key police and prosecutorial units and on reinforcing training institutions.  New joint procedures on maritime interdiction have been set up and work is underway for new procedures on aerial interdiction.  Cocaine seizures were up nearly 300 percent in 2001 and the number of hectares under opium poppy and marijuana cultivation continued to drop under Mexico's strong eradication program.  

In addition to bilateral programs, a key U.S. strategy is to promote multilateral approaches.  Such approaches highlight the international nature of the problems caused by drugs, generate increased "buy-in" by more countries, broaden the base of support, stimulate contributions by other donors, allow us to reach regions where U.S. influence is limited, and often prove more palatable politically to countries with sovereignty sensitivities.   Important in FY '01 include the following. 

United Nations (UN).  For most countries, the UN is their primary—or only—vehicle for contributing to international drug and crime controls efforts.  By the end of 2001, 162 countries had ratified the 1988 UN Drug Convention (target was 155).  Working through the UN International Drug Control Program (UNDCP), the United States has led or supported a variety of important initiatives.  In Laos, UNDCP has started work on alternative development projects in Phongsali Province, the largest source of the country's opium.   The United States, through the UNDCP, has fostered an expansion of the Southeast Asia program that targets the second largest opium producer—Burma—where opium production is beginning to decline due to key alternative development projects in the Wa Region.   Through UNDCP, the Department sponsored a regional conference in which conferees adopted the ACCORD (ASEAN and China Cooperative Operations in Response to Dangerous Drugs) Action Plan calling for various joint actions leading to a drug-free ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) by 2015

FY '01 RESULTS AS OF 9/30/01 (cont'd)

Organization of American States (OAS).  The OAS has become a major partner in the United States' anti-drug efforts in the Western Hemisphere.   The Department is the primary source of funding for OAS's Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), which carried out the first (baseline) round of the OAS Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM), the peer review system for evaluating national and regional counternarcotics performances in implementing the goals of the UN Drug Convention and the Western Hemisphere's Anti-Drug Strategy.    Completion of the full evaluation is set for early FY '02.   The EU, UN, and other bodies are watching the MEM as a possible model for monitoring national compliance with other multilateral agreements or conventions.

Colombo Plan.  Of all the international organizations, the Colombo Plan has the most productive counterdrug working relationship with Muslim-based organizations.  Through its support of the Colombo Plan's drug programs, the United States has helped countries in Southwest and Southeast Asia develop national level drug secretariats similar to the United States Office of National Drug Control Policy as well as a range of public education and demand reduction programs.   In the process, the United States has used its contributions to leverage increased commitment from other donors.

The Department also regularly employs unilateral measures to help pressure major source and trafficking countries into taking counterdrug steps.  As part of the presidential counternarcotics certification process in 2001, the Department publicly identified 24 states as major illicit drug-producing and drugtransit states ("Majors List") and denied assistance and imposed other penalties on two of these countries (two others received vital national interest waivers).  The Department also published the annual International Narcotics Strategy Control Report (INSCR), which is the most comprehensive public source on the counternarcotics and anti-money-laundering policies, practices, and performances of every foreign government.   

Looking ahead.  Colombian counternarcotics efforts will be closely monitored in light of the upcoming Presidential election in May and the impact of eliminating the FARC "despeje" (DMZ) in southern Colombia.   We anticipate that U.S.-Mexican cooperation will continue to improve, which should increase the effectiveness of interdiction efforts against drugs entering through our southern border.   Completion of the MEM evaluation should open the way for strengthened national controls and improved multilateral cooperation both within the Western Hemisphere and elsewhere.  

Performance Indicator

FY '99 Baseline

FY '00 Baseline

FY '01 Target

FY '01 Actual

Number of countries party to the 1988 United Nations Drug Convention

No data




Number of foreign law enforcement personnel trained

No data





Data Source: Mission reporting, INL Training Office reporting, other U.S. Government agency training reporting

Data Storage: INL

Frequency:  annual



Lead & Partners

Lead:  Department of State's Regional Bureaus; Partners:  DS and IO


U.S. Agency for International Development, UNDCP, Drug Enforcement Administration, Customs, Coast Guard, Central Intelligence Agency, the Association of South East Asian Nations, OAS/CICAD, ONDCP, Department of Defense

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