I wrote this essay for my application for a human rights fellowship to fund my fall internship with the Drug Policy Alliance. I didn’t get the funding, but I’m sharing this essay as a proponent for new approaches to drug policy based on public health and…
Indigenous people and campesinos in Colombia have been toasting and chewing cocaine leaves for thousands of years. Toasting the leaves removes the alkaloids necessary to create cocaine, and the toasted leaves can be used medicinally to:
- To create an anesthetic
- To relieve altitude sickness
- To reduce hunger
- Mild stimulant (with less caffeine than coffee)
So, the question remains, why is coca illegal, in Colombia and the US?
The sign reads, “Products derived from coca leaves,” and includes toasted leaves, a mixed flour, joint relief, moisturizing lotion, and cookies.
(The moment of crisis is a moment of opportunity.)"
— Padre Alberto, Comision Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz
"Today we learned:
- Colombia has the 2nd highest number of internally displaced people (after Sudan).
- Colombia is the 3rd largest recipient of US foreign aid (after Israel and Egypt)
- There are 3 million displaced people in Colombia, out of a total population of 44 million.”
“Internal displacement,” the cost of living and doing business on land rich in natural resources
Colombia’s population of internally displaced people has now surpassed the Sudan to become the largest in the world. (3.9 to 5.3 million at year end 2011, 65 percent under 25 years old).Displacement, or forced migration, has multiple interacting…
— Martha Mendoza, writer for the Associated Press, “US Military Expands its Drug War in Latin America”