Fabrizio Hochschild, UN coordinator in Colombia, on Tuesday warned that drug use has increased in the country; especially among university students.
Speaking in Bogota at a forum on the use of illicit drugs, Hochschild emphasized the severity of the problem.
“The prevalence of coca in the country is above global consumption,” warned the senior official.
“In comparison with the Andean region, Colombia is first in the consumption of coca among students,” added Hochschild.
The forum, organized by the UN and the National University of Colombia, provided the opportunity for more than a thousand people to discuss the problem of illicit drugs.
Hochschild invited attendees to maintain “respect and constructive dialogue” in order to develop proposals that will be sent to Havana, where delegations from both the government and rebel group FARC have been negotiating a five point peace accord since November.
The problem of illicit drugs, the rights of the victims and the practicalities of ending the armed conflict have yet to be discussed in detail at the negotiating table. An agreement was reached in May regarding the first item on the agenda – rural agrarian development – while discussions revolving around the second item on the agenda – political participation – continue.
The official stressed the participation of diverse sectors of Colombian society in the forum, some of which “[live in the areas] worst affected by drug production and trafficking.”
Despite increased drug use within Colombia, a UN report on Tuesday confirmed that Peru has overtaken Colombia as the world’s main grower of coca leaves – the basic ingredient to make cocaine.
Furthermore, earlier this year the UN reported that coca cultivation in Colombia had dropped 25% to 46,000 hectares from 64,000 in 2011.
- La ONU advierte sobre el crecimiento del consumo de drogas en Colombia (CM&)