WATCH – International Trade Dealers –

July 11, 2020 – The U.S. government’s assumption wasn’t always wrong. A generation ago, the Western Hemisphere cocaine trade did function like a pipeline that started in South America, wound through Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean, and discharged cocaine almost exclusively into American neighborhoods.

In 1990, the U.S. had an estimated 4.3 million cocaine users. Meanwhile, Western Europe’s cocaine markets were still in what a United Nations report called “a developmental stage.”

Now, the picture is dramatically different. U.S. cocaine consumption has been in a prolonged “nosedive,” according to a report from the London School of Economics. In 2018, there were fewer than 2.5 million users, with lower rates of adult use than in many European countries. Experts continue to debate why U.S. demand has plummeted. Even the recent and unprecedented surge in cocaine production in Colombia, which has increased purity and dropped prices in the U.S., has only just curtailed that long slide.

Meanwhile, cocaine consumption in cities across 20 European countries rose 70% from 2015 to 2019. Demand in Australia is high and growing, as it is in Eastern Europe and Russia. Again, “ZeroZeroZero” gets it right: The series ends with the players negotiating a shipment from Mexico to Russia.

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