Biden Administration backs aerial glyphosate spraying to combat Colombia’s cocaine trade, drawing criticism from some drug policy experts

Credit: Getty Images/Vice
Credit: Getty Images/Vice

Biden’s administration celebrated Colombia’s decision to restart aerial eradication of coca in its annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report

Colombian President Ivan Duque insists it’s the best option in the country’s war on drugs. 

More than 150 experts on drugs, security, and environmental policy in the region have written an open letter to Biden, saying Duque’s spraying campaign is “misguided” and Biden’s decision “could not have come at a worse time.” 

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“The recently announced decision sends an unfortunate message to the Colombian people that your administration is not committed to abandoning the ineffective and damaging war on drugs internationally, even as your administration takes bold steps to mitigate its multiple impacts on Black, Indigenous, and people of color in the United States,” says the letter, spearheaded by the Center for Studies on Security and Drugs at the Bogotá-based Los Andes University. 


The experts point to how aerial spraying with glyphosate can cause serious health problems, such as cancer, miscarriages, and respiratory illness, and environmental destruction—biodiversity loss, soil damage, and contamination of water sources.

Editor’s note: Most experts say that glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer, miscarriages, respiratory illness, or environmental destruction. Read GLP’s glyphosate FAQ to learn more.

Related article:  Congenital blindness appears to offer protection against schizophrenia. Researchers trying to figure out why.

“Sustainable progress in reducing coca production can only be achieved by ensuring that farmers have a profitable alternative. And there’s no amount of glyphosate that can achieve that,” [says Human Rights Watch Americas director José Miguel Vivanco.]

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