The UN drug agency's annual report says cocaine is surging and meth is expanding worldwide, Peru's drug agency reports record levels of coca leaf production, and more.
Poll Finds Majority Support for Legalizing Psychedelic Therapy, Near-Majority for Psychedelic Decriminalization. A poll from the University of California-Berkeley's Center for the Science of Psychedelics released at the Denver Psychedelic Science conference finds that 61 percent of registered voters support "creating a regulated legal framework for the therapeutic use of psychedelics" and 49 percent said they supported decriminalizing the use and possession of psychedelic plants and fungi.
The poll also found that 78 percent of respondents backed making psychedelic research easier and 56 percent said they could support a medical model where psychedelics would have to be approved by the Food & Drug Administration and prescribed by a physician.
"This is the first clear picture we have of what the American public think and feel about psychedelics," BCSP Executive Director Imran Khan said in a press release. "The Berkeley Psychedelics Survey shows that the majority of American voters are interested in, and supportive of, the field. They want fewer barriers to research for scientists, and they want regulated, therapeutic access for the public."
DeSantis Calls for Executing Drug Smugglers at the Border. Seeking to out-Trump Trump with aggressive border policy positions, Florida governor and GOP presidential nomination contender Ron DeSantis called Monday for a slew of harsh measures, including a plan to use "deadly force" against people trying to come through the border wall with drugs.
He called for "rules of engagement" allowing US personnel to kill people trying to do that. He said "of course" deadly force would be justified against people carrying drugs and showing "hostile intent," but he did not specify exactly what that meant.
"If you go, if you drop a couple of these cartel operatives trying to do that, you're not going to have to worry about that anymore," DeSantis told reporters.
"If someone was breaking into your house, you would repel them with the use of force, right?" DeSantis said. "But yet if they have drugs, these backpacks, and they're going in and they're cutting through an enforced structure, we're just supposed to let 'em in? You know, I say use force to repel them. If you do that one time, they will never do that again."
UN Report Says Global Cocaine Market Booming, Meth Trafficking Spreading. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released its annual World Drug Report 2023 Sunday and reported that cocaine demand and supply are surging worldwide and methamphetamine trafficking is expanding to new markets.
Coca bush cultivation and total cocaine production were at record highs in 2021, the most recent year for which data is available, and the global number of cocaine users, estimated at 22 million that same year, is growing steadily, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said in its annual World Drug Report.
"The world is currently experiencing a prolonged surge in both supply and demand of cocaine, which is now being felt across the globe and is likely to spur the development of new markets beyond the traditional confines," the UNODC report said. "Although the global cocaine market continues to be concentrated in the Americas and in Western and Central Europe (with very high prevalence also in Australia), in relative terms it appears that the fastest growth, albeit building on very low initial levels, is occurring in developing markets found in Africa, Asia and South-Eastern Europe," it said.
While meth trafficking has been centered in two regions -- North America and East and Southeast Asia -- it is increasing in other areas such as the Middle East and West Africa. UNODC also mentioned meth production in Afghanistan, which may be a replacement for heroin production after the Taliban's opium ban.
Peru Coca Farming at Record Levels. The amount of land under coca leaf cultivation was at record levels last year after growing 18 percent over the previous year, the Peruvian anti-drug agency DEVIDA reported Monday. It said most of the increase was in protected lands and indigenous Amazon villages close to the borders with Brazil and Colombia. Altogether, 367 square miles were devoted to coca leaf production.
Cultivation has been increasing since 2015 and while coca leaf is used for traditional purposes in the country, DEVIDA said that 90 percent of the crop is destined to be turned into cocaine and fed into the global illicit drug trade. Peru vies with Colombia for the title of world's largest coca producer, with Bolivia in third place.
(This article was prepared by StoptheDrugWar.org's 501(c)(4) lobbying nonprofit, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also pays the cost of maintaining this website. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)