Cocaine production reaches record levels as demand surges after Covid
Global cocaine production reaches record levels as demand surges after Covid
- New report found coca cultivation rose by 35 per cent between 2020 and 2021
- The largest cocaine markets were found to be in Europe and North America
- Drugs market was disrupted by loss of international travel and hospitality
Global cocaine production has reached record levels due to a surge in demand following the Covid-19 pandemic.
A new report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said coca cultivation rose by 35 per cent between 2020 and 2021 to record levels.
The largest markets for cocaine were found to be in Europe and North America, followed by South and Central America and the Carribean.
The new findings also indicate that new trafficking hubs have emerged in West and Central Africa.
The Global Report on Cocaine attributed the increase in cocaine production to an expansion in the cultivation of coca bush, along with improvements in converting coca into the Class A powder.
Global cocaine production has reached record levels due to a surge in demand following the pandemic
While Africa and Asia’s markets are ‘still limited’, Ghada Waly of the UN said expansion is a dangerous reality.
The new findings suggest that the drug markets were disrupted during the pandemic because of international travel being severely reduced.
Findings showed that the use of parcel and courier services increased significantly due to the drop-off in passenger flights.
Demand also dropped off majorly due to the closure of nightclubs and bars during lockdowns.
The report goes on to say, however: ‘The most recent data suggests this slump has had little impact on longer-term trends.
‘The global supply of cocaine is at record levels.’
It added: ‘There has been a continuing growth in demand, with most regions showing steadily rising numbers of users over the past decade.
‘Although these increases can be partly explained by population growth, there is also a rising prevalence of cocaine use.’
The new findings suggest that the drug markets were disrupted during the pandemic because of international travel being severely reduced
There has also been a ‘significant increase’ in the Class A drug being seized in the ‘fast parcel and postal modes’ in the UK.
Worryingly, the report also found an upward trend in the use of crack cocaine in several Western European countries, most notably in Belgium, France and Spain.
The cocaine market had been expanding in Ukraine before Russia’s invasion last February – which has as expected disrupted the market.
The report found that cocaine supply has risen in South America because criminal groups have taken over territory previously run by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). This has in turn led to competition among groups, thereby increasing production.
The FARC was a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla group which operated in Colombia between 1964 and 2017 and attempted to overthrow the country’s government and establish a communist state.
Mexican and Balkan criminal groups have moved closer to the centre of production to gain access to supplies, although Colombia still dominated trafficking routes.
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