A United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report states that global cocaine production has reached record highs after declining during the COVID pandemic, as cocaine production increased by 35% between 2020 and 2021.
Production of coca, cocaine’s base ingredient, is the highest since 2016 and its increased production comes as South American cartels improve the efficiency of their jungle labs, where they can extract more cocaine from the coca leaves.
While cocaine may be a natural component of the coca plant, its effect on society has brought devastating consequences. While it may start as a natural component of the coca plant, cocaine gets put through a series of jungle labs that create many forms of narcotics. Cocaine, whether smoked, snorted, or inhaled, leads to terrible outcomes for its users and society at large.
The demonization of the coca plant by directly linking it to cocaine is an attack on indigenous communities that have used coca leaves for centuries. The coca plant has provided natural remedies to various ailments, and cocaine itself was used in medicines as well as Coca-Cola until the 1920s when the drug was used recreationally. We must not deny the important ancestral properties when discussing the coca plant.