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Cocaine production in Colombia 'down by 25 percent' in past year

A US government survey says cocaine production in Colombia dropped by 25 percent in the past year, and by 72 percent since 2001.

cocaine production colombia 2012-07-30Enlarge
The director of the Peruvian National Police, Raul Salazar (2-L), and members of his staff show the press a ton of drugs, mostly cocaine, seized by the anti-drug division in different police operations in March. Salazar also introduced several of the 27 alleged traffickers — including British, Italian and Peruvian nationals. Peru is set to overtake Colombia as the world's top cocaine producer, according to the United Nations. (Cris Bouroncle/AFP/Getty Images)

Cocaine production in Colombia has dropped by 25 percent in the last year, according to a US government survey.

And since 2001, Colombian cocaine production has declined by a whopping 72 percent, Gil Kerlikowske, director of the US Office of National Drug Control Policy, told the Associated Press.

According to Kerlikowske, the decline is largely due to a US-funded program called Plan Colombia, aimed at helping the Colombian government crack down on drug cartels and a left-wing insurgency in the country.

The AP story said Colombia now ranks third in world production of pure cocaine, behind Peru and Bolivia.

More from GlobalPost: Colombia decriminalizes cocaine, marijuana

Colombia last month decriminalized possession of cocaine and marijuana for personal use.

Anyone caught with less 20 grams of marijuana or one gram of cocaine for personal use will not be prosecuted or detained, but could be required to receive physical or psychological treatment, according to Colombia Reports

Lawmakers in Colombia have also proposed allowing farmers to grow narcotic crops such as coca and marijuana. In May, the country's House of Representatives passed the first draft of a bill that would decriminalize growing illegal drug plants.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has said that after 40 years of fighting drug cartels, his country is no closer to victory. 

More from GlobalPost: Can the US snuff out Latin America’s ‘legalize it’ push?

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/colombia/120730/cocaine-production-colombia-drops-25-percent-says-us