Global demand for cocaine has reached record levels as use rebounded after the coronavirus lockdown, according to a report released Thursday. North America and Europe lead the way in demand for the illegal substance.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said coca cultivation rose 35% between 2021 and 2022 on the back of a new peak in demand.
The findings indicate that new supply centers emerged in West and Central Africa while smugglers often used international postal services to deliver drugs to consumers.
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Europe and North America remain the largest single cocaine markets, followed by South and Central America and the Caribbean.
Use in Africa and Asia was “limited” but Ghada Waly of the United Nations said the market potential there was a serious one.
the World Report on Cocaine He said the increased production was a result of the expansion of coca bush cultivation, as well as improvements in converting coca into cocaine powder. she says:
Seizure data indicates that the role of Africa, especially West and Central Africa, as a transit area for cocaine on its way to markets in Europe has rebounded significantly since 2019.
Both the total amount seized in Africa and the number of large seizures appear to have reached record levels during 2021.
The report said the coronavirus had a “devastating” effect on drug markets as international travel was severely restricted even as nightclubs and bars closed during pandemic lockdowns to further frustrate suppliers.
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“However, the most recent data indicates that this decline had little effect on long-term trends,” the report says. “Global supply of cocaine is at record levels.”
Other key findings include:
- Colombia It still dominates smuggling routes despite the development of routes to Europe
- consumption in Australia It peaked in the middle of 2020, fell by 50 percent the following year and rose “moderately” in the last few months of 2021.
- Mexican And Balkans Criminal groups have moved closer to the production center to get access to supplies
- Cocaine use is on the upward trend in many Western European countries incl United kingdomAnd BelgiumAnd France And Spain
- in UkraineThe market has been expanding, but since the Russian invasion last February, demand has stalled dramatically
Arrests and seizures have also skyrocketed. Interdictions of cocaine shipments by law enforcement agencies around the world have recorded seizure volumes reaching a record high of nearly 2,000 tons in 2021.
The report shows a crime scene fragmented into myriad smuggling networks. By examining the modalities of these groups, the report found new dealers who fill in the loopholes and a group of so-called “service providers” who lend supply chain services “for a fee.”
Angela Mee, chief of the Research and Analysis Branch at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said the report contains a wealth of information about the drug’s increasing use and supply.
She said, “With the latest knowledge and trends on the routes, routes, and networks used by criminal actors, I hope the report supports evidence-based strategies that remain at the forefront of future developments in cocaine production, trafficking, and use.”
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