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The heroin business, although not as abundant as that of coca, has increased in the last decade
The illicit business of heroin, like that of coca, has as one of its largest producers in Colombia, although this drug has not been given the same deployment or the struggle of the State has been the same.
Leer en español: Conozca cómo funciona el negocio de la heroína
Caracol TV made a special report about this not-so-known drug and the business in Pereira, from the point of view of consumption, based on an investigation carried out by the police. This put this business on the table, which, according to the report, has a 3 times more profit than cocaine, although it is less produced.
Like coca, this drug is produced by peasants in different areas of the country, especially in the departments of Tolima, Meta, and Cauca, among others, and distributed by guerrilla groups and criminal gangs.
Currently, the United States is the main consumer of heroin, and Colombia and Dominican Republic are the largest producers, although Mexico is the main distributor, according to James J. Hunt, special agent of the DEA for the medium From Below.
Heroin is a semi-synthetic drug that comes from the poppy plant, from which opium is extracted and, after a process, morphine and heroin emerge. Its analgesic characteristics have allowed the world of medicine to use it to avoid extreme pain.
Its medical use must be controlled by experts due to the physical dependence it creates, which is why it is used only in certain cases, such as morphine. However, the addictive component achieved that this drug became recreational, under the presentation of heroin, and that the market grew.
The opiates are native to the eastern part of the world, having great importance in the nineteenth century in countries like China. For that moment, and centuries ago, opium was smoked, but heroin and morphine were not produced. In addition, the analgesic component made it natural medicine that was used in oriental culture.
According to a report by the Ministry of Justice and Law of Colombia, conducted with the support of the Colombian Drug Observatory, and published in 2015, at the beginning of the 20th century, opium was banned and the business of this semi-synthetic drug began. Illegal production began to use other components that derived, finally in the heroin that, instead of smoking like opium, is injected, which contains more addictive components and their effects on the body they are stronger.
Heroin business in Colombia
The fight against drug trafficking has focused, for many years, on coca crops in Latin American countries, especially Colombia, leaving aside other drugs such as heroin.
In Colombia it was precisely this that allowed this drug to enter the market. For the decade of the 80, personages like Pablo Escobar and the Ochoa brothers were highly persecuted by drug trafficking and violence, especially by the traffic of cocaine to the United States.
The persecution of the coca business was a door for a little-known drug, which was already being distributed in large quantities and consumed all over the world, to be produced in this country. In some departments poppy crops began to grow and in the main cities of the country such as Cali, Medelín and Bogotá, laboratories began to emerge to create the semi-synthetic drug.
For the 80s and 90s, the business in Colombia was not well positioned. Similarly, the authorities did not know well how this production worked, so that drug trafficking could take advantage, while coca was highly persecuted. This ignorance of the State on the market was taken advantage of by the producers to position themselves worldwide.
At the end of the 1990s, according to the Ministry of Justice and Law's report, Colombia officially arrived in the US market when the mafia of that country verified the purity of the heroin that was produced in Colombia.
One thing that is certain is that, according to El País de Cali, " the data found in the UNODC report say that heroin produces more profits than cocaine. In Colombia, while the kilo of cocaine can cost $ 4,538 .200 pesos, that of heroin, as the police have emphasized, is around $ 16 million pesos".
Heroin in the United States
Currently, according to James J. Hunt in the interview for Desde Abajo, it is difficult for Colombia to transport heroin to the United States, both by sea and air. So the easiest way is by land, which Mexicans would not let happen. That is why today, Colombia, although it is the largest producer of heroin, its main buyer is Mexico, which is the one that distributes it to the United States.
The same report said that in Colombia heroin production has decreased in recent years, while Hunt says that in the United States, sales and consumption, since 2009, has doubled every year. Likewise, he affirms that the heroin 'hub' is the city of New York, where a third of the country's heroin is bought.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 91 people die in this country due to an overdose of opiate substances, a figure that has increased 4 times in the 21st century. One of the alarming comparisons, for example, is that by 2015, 330,000 people died from this cause, a figure higher than that of homicides, with the United States being a country with a high homicide rate.
LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Suárez
Translated from "Conozca cómo funciona el negocio de la heroína"