Drug Abuse in the Global Village
Drug Abuse in North America

Supply Sources of Drugs in North America

In Canada, 65 per cent of all heroin seized in 1990, originated in Southwest Asia; up from 21 per cent in 1989. West African heroin trafficking groups have come to view Canada as an entry point to the US market (NDIE 1991). Canadian cocaine trade continues to be dominated by representatives of Colombian trafficking organizations like the Medellin and Cali cartels (NDIE 1991). About 70 per cent of the cocaine in Canada comes from Colombia, 15 per cent from Peru, 10 per cent from Brazil and 5 per cent from Bolivia. About 10 per cent of this drug is destined to other countries, with Canada used only as a transit country (U.N. 1990).

            About 25 per cent of the marihuana is cultivated in Canada illicitly. About 20 per cent comes each from Jamaica and Thailand, and 15 per cent from each Colombia and Mexico. About 5 per cent comes from Trinidad and Tobago. Most of the hashish in Canada originates from Pakistan and Afghanistan (60 per cent), Lebanon (30 per cent), and India (15 per cent) (U.N. 1990).


Heroin reaching the U.S. originates in three major source areas: Southeast Asia, Mexico, and Southwest Asia. Mexican heroin dominates supply in most areas on the West Coast, Southeast Asian heroin predominates in a number of major East Coast cities, and Southwest Asian heroin predominates in Chicago and in Puerto Rico (DEA 1991).

            During the last years, Colombian cartels increasingly employed Mexican organizations to transport cocaine through established Mexican trafficking routes to the Southwestern United States (U.N. 1989).

            Foreign cannabis, primarily from Mexico is believed to account for 79 per cent of the total cannabis available for use in the U.S. during 1989. Domestic cannabis cultivation is estimated to have increased aproximately 20 per cent during 1989 (U.N. 1989).