Cocaine Addiction Information
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cocaineCocaine has long been one of the most dangerous drugs in the world. Its use has recently become so common in the United Kingdom, for example, that officials have found that the nation’s drinking water is actually contaminated with the drug.

Here is the US, the 1980s were a time of high crime rates largely due to the boom in crack cocaine throughout our nation’s biggest cities. While the crack market may have declined, cocaine is still a highly used drug throughout the country. If we want to stop the spread of this drug throughout our communities, we need to understand what it is, where it comes from and how to stop it from getting here.

A Product of the Coca Plant

Cocaine comes from the leaves of the coca plant and is indigenous to South America. Columbia, for example, is one major grower of the plant. Cocaine, a highly addictive stimulant, is simply one of the products that can be derived from the plant. Because it creates such a powerful high, it quickly becomes addictive after only a few uses.

Columbia became one of the major producers and exporters of the drug in the 1970s because drug producers quickly saw how profitable it could be. They also realized that the financially prosperous United States could be their biggest companies. They were correct.

The United States government was not and has never been okay with the importation of this dangerous drug, so it immediately took steps to close our borders to it. The cocaine producers were not discouraged, however. They simply got more imaginative about getting the drug into the US. So, how does cocaine get into the US?

The Old-fashioned Way

The simplest methods of getting cocaine into the US are also the most old-fashioned. Cocaine is usually produced in South America, so one of the easiest ways to try to get it into the US is simply to transport it with trucks up through Central America and Mexico. By the time the trucks get to the border, they have to be disguised as transporting legitimate goods such as produce. If even a few hundred kilos of the drug  can be successfully hidden in a semi-truck full of oranges or pineapples, the drug producers can still make millions of dollars in profit.

Another simple method of transporting the drug takes longer. Drug “mules” are individual travelers that try to hide the drug somewhere in their luggage, on their bodies or even inside their bodies. This method takes a lot longer and requires more individuals, and it is also incredibly dangerous for the individual mules. If someone swallows a balloon full of cocaine, for example, he has to hope that it won’t burst inside his stomach. That much cocaine hitting your digestive tract at once could kill you within minutes.

Innovative Strategies

The US Border Patrol is always on the lookout, so drug smugglers have devised much more innovative methods of getting the drugs into the US. One Columbian cartel hired engineers from Russia and the US and built their own drug transport submarine. Today, the US Coast Guard and military routinely spot and capture jury-rigged ships and submersibles trying to bring drugs into the country.

Another method for traffickers was to pack small planes full of cocaine and to then try to fly under US radar. If they could successfully land on small, private strips and unload their goods, they could potentially make millions in single trips. No matter how the drugs are coming in, these smugglers have to be stopped so that even more Americans don’t die from cocaine addiction.

Reference:

PBS.org: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/business/inside/colombian.html