Colombian Cocaine Trade
Cocaine is produced from the Coca plants usually found in the mountain climates of Colombia. The first cocaine alkaloid was not achieved until 1855. The cocaine alkaloid was first isolated by a German Chemist Friedrick Gaedcke. Cocaine was first used in the 1880’s as an anesthetic in eye, nose, and throat surgeries because of its capability to provide anesthesia as well as to constrict blood vessels and limit bleeding. Its therapeutic applications are obsolete in this day and age because of the technological advances to produce safer drugs . Cocaine is the most devastating and potent stimulant of the natural realm. In this paper I will be discussing the history of cocaine, the impact in the world, and lastly the War on Drugs.
Dating back thousands of years the South American Indigenous people have chewed the coca leaf. The leaf contains important nutrients and can be life saving to a person who hasn’t eaten for days. When the Spaniards conquered South America they discovered that the claims of the leaf being nutritious were true and started taxing 10% of the value of the crop . The taxes actually became the main source of support for the Roman Catholic Church in the region.
In 1999, Colombia remained the world's leading producer of cocaine. Three quarters of the world's annual yield of cocaine is produced there. In the year 2000, Columbia still remains the world's leading producer of the drug .
The coca cultivation that goes on in the Andean jungle is damaging the health of the environment in the region. The main threats to the environment are deforestation caused by clearing the fields for cultivation, soil erosion caused by several factors, and chemical pollution from insecticides and fertilizers. The process of mixing coca and poppy into cocaine and heroine has devastating effects on the environment as well. These environmental issues are difficult to
address due to coca being a traditional crop and trade item, the influence and wealth of the drug traffickers opposing restrictions, and the issue of national sovereignty. Most realize the social impact of the drug trade worldwide, but few realize the environmental impact.
The natives who used to live on eating the fish from the rivers no longer are able to find any edible fish.
Pollution is one of the biggest factors in the environmental issues involved with the coca cultivation. Some of the pesticides used by the farmers travel through the soil into the ground effecting the water, and eventually making its way into the rivers and streams. The pesticides are not only poisonous to the insects and larger animals, but also to the people who live on the land. Another item that plays a big role in the pollution is the fertilizer used by the farmers, and that also enters the water systems. Not to mention it also destroys all of the other sensitive vegetation in the area. Once the...