Cocaine production reaches record levels as new trafficking hubs emerge

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CocaineImage source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Doctors person warned cocaine is often mixed with different harmful substances

By Thomas Mackintosh

BBC News

Global cocaine accumulation has reached grounds levels arsenic request rebounds pursuing Covid lockdowns, a caller study has found.

The UN Office connected Drugs and Crime said coca cultivation roseate by 35% betwixt 2021 and 2022 to grounds levels.

Findings suggest caller hubs for trafficking person emerged successful West and Central Africa.

The study besides said traffickers were utilizing planetary postal services much often to get drugs to consumers.

Europe and North America are the largest markets for cocaine, followed by South and Central America and the Caribbean.

While the study said the markets successful Africa and Asia were "still limited", the UN's Ghada Waly said the imaginable for the marketplace to grow determination was a unsafe reality.

The Global Report connected Cocaine said the accumulation summation was the effect of an enlargement successful the cultivation of coca bush, arsenic good arsenic improvements successful converting coca into powdered cocaine.

It says: "Seizure information suggest that the relation of Africa, particularly West and Central Africa, arsenic a transit portion for cocaine connected its mode to markets successful Europe has picked up substantially since 2019.

"Both the full quantity seized successful Africa and the fig of ample seizures look to person reached grounds levels during 2021."

The study says the outbreak of Covid-19 had a "disruptive" effect connected cause markets arsenic planetary question was severely curtailed.

Demand for cocaine slumped arsenic nighttime clubs and bars were unopen during the pandemic lockdowns.

"However, the astir caller information suggests this slump has had small interaction connected longer-term trends," the study says. "The planetary proviso of cocaine is astatine grounds levels."

In the UK, the study says determination has been a "significant increase" successful seizures of cocaine successful the "fast parcel and postal modes".

Interceptions by instrumentality enforcement person besides been connected the emergence - astatine a higher velocity than production, the study outlines.

Other cardinal findings include:

  • Colombia still dominates trafficking routes though paths to Europe person evolved
  • Consumption successful Australia peaked successful the mediate of 2020, dropped by 50% the pursuing twelvemonth and picked up "moderately" successful the past fewer months of 2021
  • Mexican and Balkan criminal groups person moved person to the centre of accumulation to summation entree to supplies
  • The usage of ace cocaine is connected the upward inclination successful respective occidental European countries including the UK, Belgium, France and Spain
  • In Ukraine, the marketplace had been expanding, but since Russia's penetration past February the request has been disrupted drastically
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Watch: Nick Beake investigates however Antwerp became the cocaine gateway to Europe

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