Let it snow! let it snow! let it snow! estimating cocaine production using a novel dataset based on reported seizures of laboratories in colombia

Leoncini, R.; Rentocchini, F.
International Journal of Drug Policy

Background: Data on the cocaine market appear inconsistent, as they tend to show declining prices vis-a-vis steady or increasing demand and a declining supply. This paper proposes an explanation for this trend by providing evidence of an under-estimation of the supply of cocaine. Methods: We propose a conservative estimate of cocaine production in Colombia for 2008, using data based on all reported seizures from 328 laboratories made by the counteracting organisations operating within the Colombian territory. Results: Our conservative estimate of 935 tons from the seized laboratories is at least twice the estimate declared in official statistics of 295-450 tons. We are careful to keep all variables to their minimum boundary values. Our methodology could prove to be a useful tool, especially if used in parallel with the standard tools. Moreover, its characteristics (affordability, ease of use and potential for worldwide adoption) make it a powerful instrument to counteract cocaine production. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.