In these rough economic times, another pricey extravagance appears to be waning in South Florida: cocaine. The Miami Herald says the city has seen a decline in people seeking treatment for cocaine addiction or dying from the drug. Twenty five years after Miami Vice became part of the cocaine culture lore, Miami is leading the nation in the beginning of the end of America's three-decade cocaine epidemic, say experts. The war on drugs had its biggest influence on the purity of cocaine, so drug users paid more and got less. With a statewide unemployment rate hovering at 10 percent, the scourge that destroyed families and entire communities is being replaced with cheaper, easier to acquire narcotics.
“It's not disappearing, but it's definitely declining,” said James Hall of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Substance Abuse at Nova Southeastern University. “People are getting half of what they used to get — and this is occurring in the middle of the economic downturn. Cocaine, the most expensive drug on a per-dose basis, is costing more.” “It's kind of ironic, given Miami's historic role in the cocaine industry — Miami Vice was part of the culture,” said Paul Gootenberg, a State University of New York professor who wrote Andean Cocaine: The Making of a Global Drug. “The main thing to happen with cocaine in the past 10 years is not a dramatic decline in supply, but a globalization of cocaine: It's gone from Miami, Colombia and New York to Argentina, Spain, and Britain.”