In 1999 President Clinton launched the largest and most elaborate attack on drugs since the War on Drugs began with President Nixon in 1971. In response to drug abuse and addiction in the United States, the government is trying to restrict the supply from abroad, thereby raising street prices enough to reduce domestic demand. As Columbia is the number one world exporter of cocaine, under President Clinton's Plan Columbia, the U.S. is donating an estimated 1.5 billon dollars to aid the Columbian government in the eradication of cocoa crops. However the means by which action is being taken puts human rights, environmental safety and democratic values into jeopardy. Furthermore it is likely that Plan Columbia will have little or no lasting affect on the drug problems domestically or in Columbia. .
For the past few years Columbia's anti-drug police, backed by the United States, have tried to eradicate cocoa growing in the southern jungles, where it is most prevalent. Black Hawk helicopters have been used to spray chemicals on the plantations, and still there has not been a decrease in the overall area of cocoa plantations or cocoa production. This is not surprising since as long as demand exists so will supply. As large plantations have been wiped out, farmers have move deeper into the jungle to plant more, smaller crops. The profit made from growing cocoa is so high that farmers are willing take the risk of having their fields destroyed. .
Instead of finding a new more effective way to control drug supply The United States has found a new chemical. Until recently a liquid called glyphosate has been used, but because of certain disadvantages, has been replaced by a granular chemical called tebuthiuron. This chemical is a broad spectrum herbicide which is very effective in wooded vegetation, such as the southern jungles of Columbia. However, because this chemical can be sprayed over a larger area, it poses a higher threat to other plants, animals and humans.