Global cocaine production has surged to record highs after falling during the coronavirus pandemic, sources say a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Between 2020 and 2021, cocaine production increased by 35%, the sharpest annual increase since 2016, the report said.
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The increase is due to a combination of expanding coca crop cultivation and improved cocaine manufacturing techniques.
Global demand for cocaine has increased over the past decade, and while the main markets remain in the Americas and Europe, there is “strong potential” for expansion in Asia and Africa, according to UNODC.
“The surge in global cocaine supply should put us all on high alert,” UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly said in a statement. “The potential for cocaine market expansion in Africa and Asia is a dangerous reality. I urge governments and others to closely examine the report’s findings to determine how to address this transnational threat with transnational responses based on awareness-raising, prevention, and international and regional cooperation.”
According to the report, new cocaine trafficking hubs are emerging in south-eastern Europe and western and central Africa, with North Sea ports such as Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg overtaking traditional gateways to Europe in Spain and Portugal. Smugglers in Central America are also diversifying their routes, sending more cocaine to Europe.
Alongside the surge in cocaine production, law enforcement interceptions of the drug have also risen to record highs, the report said, with a record 2,000 tonnes of cocaine seized in 2021.
“I hope the report supports evidence-based strategies that stay one step ahead of future developments in cocaine production, trafficking and use,” said Angela Me, UNODC’s director of research and analysis, in a statement.
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Source : news.yahoo.com