"The United States recognizes that the problems of drugs and drug-related violence require a comprehensive solution," said Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs David Johnson.
At a briefing announcing the release of the Department of State's 2009 International Narcotics Strategy Report, Assistant Secretary Johnson said that judicial systems must become universally accessible; the rule of law must be applied to drug cartels and corruption must be confronted and reduced.
The State Department report noted that the government of Mexico, under the leadership of President Felipe Calderon, has taken significant steps to reform domestic judicial and law enforcement institutions and promote the rule of law.
"The United States is committed to support these efforts," said Assistant Secretary Johnson, "including further steps to confront and dismantle the drug cartels that are responsible for smuggling most of the cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine consumed within the United States."
Reflecting a sense of shared responsibility and vulnerability, the U.S. Congress approved, in 2008, the first allocation of funding for a regional counter-narcotics and law enforcement cooperation plan that includes not just Mexico, but also the countries of Central America, as well as Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
The State Department report commended Columbia for steps its has taken over the past 10 years to combat the narcotics traffic, including improved ability to eradicate coca fields, destroy drug labs and interdict drug shipments, judicial reforms and increased security for the people of Colombia.
The report noted that drug trafficking remains a serious threat to the security and well being of Afghanistan. Afghanistan continues to produce more than 90 percent of the world's opium poppy. But 2008 saw some limited progress. During 2008, poppy cultivation declined by 19 percent after 2 years of record highs, and the number of poppy-free provinces increased from 13 in 2007 to 18 in 2008.
Assistant Secretary of State Johnson said that while the United States continues to work with other countries to stem the international narcotics traffic, it also "remains essential for the United States and other consumer countries to reduce demand for illegal drugs at home in order to undermine the market incentives that make the illegal drug trade so profitable and difficult to uproot from safe havens abroad."