Cocaine production, smuggling on the rise after pandemic-related downturn

Cocaine production, smuggling on the rise after pandemic-related downturn

Cocaine production and trafficking is increasing around the world after slowing considerably during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime said this week that new hubs and growing criminal networks are behind the rebound that began with the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.

β€œThe COVID-19 pandemic had a disruptive impact on the pharmaceutical market. With international travel severely curtailed, producers struggled to get their products to market,” the report released Thursday said. “Nightclubs and bars were closed as officials ramped up their efforts to control the virus, which has reduced demand for drugs like cocaine. “

But the drug has made a comeback, the report said, “with a steady increase in the number of users over the past decade in most regions”.

“The increase in the global supply of cocaine should put us all on high alert,” said UN official Ghada Wali. “The prospect of expanding cocaine markets in Africa and Asia is a dangerous reality.”

The UN cited improvements in the process that converts the coca bush into cocaine and more holistic cultivation of the plant as reasons for the increase in supply, which is expected to increase by 35% between 2021 and 2022. This led to more seizures by law enforcement In 2021, over 2,000 tons were seized.

Wally recommended an international response based on “awareness-raising, prevention and international and regional cooperation” to slow traffickers.

The United Nations says demand is greatest in the Americas, the Caribbean and Europe, but trafficking hubs in West and Central Africa may lead to more users in that continent and Asia.

“With the latest knowledge and trends of the routes, methods and networks employed by criminal actors,” said UN official Angela Mee, “it is my hope that the report will support evidence-based strategies that will advance future developments in cocaine production, trafficking and use.”


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