Colombia Drug Rehabilitation Center
Narconon Colombia has been providing drug rehabilitation services in the Bogota area since 1996. They have rehabilitated many individuals from Colombia and other South American countries, as well as training Spanish-speaking staff from these countries. The staff and graduates have also done extensive drug education throughout the country.
The Narconon residential treatment center is centrally located in the country, on a beautiful property outside Santandercito. In the safe setting of this residential treatment program, those wishing to leave the effects of alcohol and drug abuse behind can detoxify and heal their damaged minds and bodies. Each person is taught how to create a new drug-free life and how to restore their own self-respect and personal values.
With drug cravings overcome through healthy detoxification and new life skills in place, each Narconon graduation can help contribute to a new future for the country that does not include addiction and international drug trafficking.
Cannabis Launches the Pattern of International Drug Trafficking
The story of drugs in Colombia will always focus on the cocaine market until such time as international drug manufacturers and traffickers are finally brought under control. But while coca leaves have been used as a mild stimulating drug for hundreds of years in Colombia, it was not coca and cocaine that first established the international drug trade in the country. It was cannabis, known in the U.S. as marijuana.
Colombia gained its independence from Spain in 1830, along with Ecuador and Venezuela. A hundred years later, some Colombians began to cultivate cannabis on the Guajira Peninsula in the northeast portion of the country. In the 1960s and 1970s, as cannabis demand increased, so did the cannabis production industry in Colombia. Cities such as Barranquilla and Santa Marta began to prosper as a result of the infusion of profits. While tens of thousands of people were making good livings with this crop, violence was not part of the picture. Not until the cocaine drug cartels arrived on the scene.
In the 1970s, the international demand for cocaine also began to grow. Enterprising and ruthless individuals formed the first international drug cartels, centered, at that time, in Medellin. Using bribes, intimidation, violence, and murder, they forged their trafficking channels to South Florida. And the cocaine boom was on.
Massive Growth and Massive Counter-Efforts
Now, cocaine is tied to the country’s economy. Farmers who see growing coca as the best way to support their families plant the crop and receive incomes three times the national average. Government forces attempt to locate the fields and spray them with defoliants from the air or by hand. Farmers move their fields or plant in smaller, more easily concealed fields. The cycle continues, year after year.
The number of hectares devoted to coca topped out in 2000 at an estimated 163,000 hectares. In the U.S., nearly all cocaine comes from Colombia and worldwide, the country is the source of more than half of all cocaine supplies.
Due to effective counter-efforts, hectares of coca fell to 81,000 by 2006. Each year, thousands of clandestine cocaine labs are destroyed. There have been some shortages of cocaine along with higher prices and lower purity reported in the United States, but at the same time, Colombian drug lords have recently expanded their ventures to Europe, forging new paths across the Atlantic to impoverished Western Africa countries and from there on to Spain.
While cocaine takes center stage in the whole trafficking scene, Colombia also produces ten tonnes of opium annually that can be refined into heroin. This heroin makes its way into the United States on the same channels as the cocaine.
Trafficking Takes its Toll through Domestic Drug Abuse and Addiction
A 2008 report from the United Nations notes the types of drugs involved in addiction treatment among the citizens of Colombia. Naturally, the top drug of addiction was cocaine, followed by cannabis and inhalants. In Colombia, there is a uniquely dangerous form of cocaine available known as basuco. More highly addictive than cocaine, this less-refined form of cocaine also contains traces of gasoline, hydrochloric acid, and corrosive lime. Heavy use of basuco can cause brain damage. The wealthy combine basuco use with cannabis or whiskey. The poor mix basuco with sniffing glue or gasoline. Either way, basuco use is a fast path to addiction, ruin, and loss of health.
Use of ecstasy and amphetamine-type drugs are also on the rise in Colombia. The country has the highest amphetamine use in South America, and ecstasy use statistics doubled between 2001 and 2004.