International drug trade has been an issue for centuries. In 1729, 1896, and 1800 Chinese authorities issued edicts against smoking opium being brought to China by the United Kingdom. By the early 19th century an illegal drug trade in China formed and because of this by 1838 the amount of Chinese opium addicts had grown between four a twelve million. The First Opium War (1839-1842) was later fought between the United Kingdom, and Qing-dynasty China. This war ended with a British victory and China was forced to allow British merchants to sell Indian grow opium. Later, In the United States between 1920 and 1933, the 18th amendment which banned alcohol was impossible to enforce which caused organized crime to increase creating the modern American Mafia which profited greatly from producing, smuggling, and selling liquor. At the beginning of the 21st century drug use greatly increased in North America and Europe, specifically Marijuana and cocaine. As a result international organized crime syndicates such as the Sinaloa Cartel which smuggles many illicit drugs from South America North to Mexico so that it can be sold in the United states. After a rise of recreational drug use United States President Richard Nixon made a declaration of war against drugs in 1971 starting what became known as the war on drugs.
Peru is one of the top three coca bush producers in the world and has over 60,000 hectares of its land being under cultivation in 2011. The coca bush produced in Peru is often sent to Columbia to be turned into the drug cocaine which can then be transported to the United States; however Cocaine produced in Peru can be transported almost globally thanks to Peru’s Pacific coastline and ports. UNDOC’s alternative development program works closely with the Peruvian government and farmers to find viable alternatives to coca bush cultivation. This project aims to help farmers find licit, profitable alternatives to growing coca bushes such as palm oil, cacao, and eucalyptus. By giving farmers these alternatives peru is able to facilitate lucrative markets as well as help farmers increase their income in the short term and allow themselves to become established in a sustainable way. In the 1990s to peruvian President Alberto Fujimori started a campaign in an attempt to stop cocaine from being transported over Peru’s borders. The military campaign proved successful when production of coca bush moved from Peru into columbia. Over time however cocaine production slowly returned to Peru.
Peru suggests that as a solution to end the international drug trade is that countries where illicit drugs or the base ingredients for these drugs target production to cut off the supply so no more may be produced or distributed again. This method proved to be successful in Columbia when with aid from the US destroyed 1,300 square kilometers of mature coca which was estimated to have been able to produce 500 metric tons of cocaine which would have generated about $100 million in illegal income for drug sellers and other crime organizations. One other solution to help stop drug trade is to tighten security in airports and seaports. Lima, the capital of Peru, is a popular spot for drug mules. The Lima International Airport is where most of the smuggling occurs. On average drug mules carry 2 kilograms of cocaine for around $3,000. If airports and seaports could be equipped with better or extra security we could potentially stop more drugs from leaving the country.
- Nicholas Lagazo