"Efforts to significantly reduce the flow of illicit drugs from abroad into the United States have so far not succeeded. Moreover, over the past decade, worldwide production of illicit drugs has risen dramatically: opium and marijuana production has roughly doubled and coca production tripled. Street prices of cocaine and heroin have fallen significantly in the past 20 years, reflecting increased availability. The effectiveness of international narcotics control programs in reducing consumption is a matter of ongoing concern. Despite apparent national political resolve to deal with the drug problem, inherent contradictions regularly appear between U.S. anti-drug policy and other national policy goals and concerns. Pursuit of drug control policies can sometimes affect foreign policy interests and bring political instability and economic dislocation to countries where narcotics production has become entrenched economically and socially. Drug supply interdiction programs and U.S. systems to facilitate the international movement of goods, people, and wealth are often at odds. […] The Bush Administration's FY2005 budget request continues a policy, begun in FY2002, to request authority for the State and Defense Departments to supply assistance to Colombia for counterterrorism purposes. For instance, U.S.-supplied helicopters and intelligence could be used to support military operations against guerrillas financed by drugs as well as against drug traffickers themselves. See CRS [Congressional Research Service] Report RL32337, 'Andean Counterdrug Initiative (ACI) and Related Funding Programs: FY2005 Assistance'. An issue likely to achieve increased attention in the 109th Congress is that of skyrocketing opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan and whether to press for aerial crop eradication against the wishes of the local Afghan leadership. See CRS Report RL32686, 'Afghanistan: Narcotics and U.S. Policy'. Drug control approaches addressed in this issue brief include: 1) Expansion of efforts to reduce foreign production at the source. 2) Expansion of interdiction and enforcement activities to disrupt supply lines. 3) Expansion of efforts to reduce worldwide demand. 4) Expansion of economic disincentives for international drug trafficking."
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB88093
United States Department of State, Foreign Press Center: http://fpc.state.gov/