Drug misuse in Columbia has a long and complex history, dating back to the early days of the drug trade in the country. In the early 20th century, Columbia was a major producer of marijuana, but it wasn’t until the 1970s and 1980s that the country became a major player in the global cocaine market.
The rise of the Medellin and Cali cartels in the 1970s and 1980s brought unprecedented levels of violence and corruption to the country, as these criminal organizations fought for control of the lucrative drug trade. The Medellin cartel, led by Pablo Escobar, was particularly notorious for its brutal tactics, including bombings, assassinations, and kidnappings.
As the drug trade in Columbia continued to grow, so too did the problem of drug addiction and misuse. According to a report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the number of people using illicit drugs in Columbia more than doubled between 2000 and 2010, with the majority of users consuming cocaine.
The Colombian government has made efforts to combat drug misuse, including implementing a controversial “Plan Colombia” in 2000, which was primarily focused on reducing the cultivation of coca, the plant used to make cocaine, through aerial fumigation and manual eradication. However, this approach has been criticized for causing harm to both people and the environment, and for failing to address the root causes of drug cultivation.
More recently, the Colombian government has shifted its focus to a more holistic approach to addressing drug misuse, including increasing access to treatment and rehabilitation services, and implementing programs to support alternative livelihoods for farmers who previously relied on cultivating coca.
Media stories and examples of drug misuse in Columbia can be found in various sources, including newspaper articles, documentaries and movies. For example, the Netflix series “Narcos” is a fictionalized account of the rise of Pablo Escobar and the Medellin cartel, and the impact their drug empire had on Columbia and the world. The documentary “Cocaine Cowboys” provides a detailed look at the history of the cocaine trade in Miami and its connection to the Colombian cartels.
Academic research on drug misuse in Columbia can be found in journals such as the “Drug and Alcohol Dependence” and “Addiction.” A particularly relevant study is “Drug trafficking, violence and social capital in Medellín, Colombia” by A. Gaviria, E. Pérez and J. Guerrero, which examines the relationship between drug trafficking, violence and social capital in Medellín, the city that was once the epicenter of Pablo Escobar’s criminal empire.
In conclusion, drug misuse in Columbia has a long and complex history that is closely tied to the rise of the drug trade in the country. The Colombian government has implemented various strategies to address the problem, but it remains a significant issue. Media and academic sources provide insight into the history and ongoing impact of drug misuse in Columbia.
- UNODC, World Drug Report 2011 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.11.XI.6)
- A. Gaviria, E. Pérez and J. Guerrero, “Drug trafficking, violence and social capital in Medellín, Colombia” in Journal of Development Economics, vol. 82, no. 2, pp. 393-407, 2008.
- “Cocaine Cowboys” documentary directed by Billy Corben, 2006
- “Narcos” Netflix series created by Chris Brancato, Carlo Bernard, and Doug Miro, 2015-2017