“The illicit drug trade remains one of the most pernicious threats to U.S. public health and security, as well as to international stability,” said State Department spokesperson Ned Price.
The newly released 2020 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report highlights the importance of working with source and transit countries to reduce supplies of these drugs, as well as efforts to reduce demand for illicit drugs and expand access to treatment.
In Europe, demand for cocaine from South America increased, as seizures and demand for treatment remained at record levels.
Methamphetamine production, trafficking, and use, often manufactured with Chinese-origin precursor chemicals, also remained at record levels in many regions, especially in Southeast Asia and parts of Africa and North America.
The report notes that the enormous challenges in 2020 led to mixed results in the fight against illicit drugs. For example, the Andean region has long been, and remains, a key area of concern among drug source and transit countries. Colombia and Peru are committed U.S. partners, yet coca cultivation and cocaine production in those countries are at all-time high levels.
Border closures and travel restrictions due to COVID-19 disrupted trafficking routes and precursor chemical supply chains. However, traffickers quickly adopted alternative routes and methods, and drug availability in many regions reached new historic highs by year’s end.
Nevertheless, there were also bright spots. Colombia reported record seizures in 2020 and has continued to become a regional leader in counternarcotics efforts.
Meanwhile, Venezuela once again failed demonstrably to uphold its obligations under international drug control agreements. The illegitimate Maduro regime’s corruption and mismanagement of the economy has made the regime dependent on funds derived from narcotrafficking and other illicit activities.
Mexico, another country of major concern, remains the primary source of heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine bound for the United States. Beyond the Western Hemisphere, methamphetamine manufacturing in Burma, bolstered by the heavy flow of drug precursor chemicals originating from China, is driving a methamphetamine surge throughout Asia and Oceania. While the Chinese government banned all fentanyl analogues, the United States has urged China to take a more proactive role in disrupting the flow of precursors to manufacture illicit fentanyl and methamphetamine trafficked globally.
“The United States recognizes that political will is the most important determinant of success in a global fight to achieve a reduction in drug production,” said spokesperson Price, “and we will remain committed to working with likeminded governments to reduce illicit drug flows and drug use.”