March 16 (EUROPA PRESS) –
The UN has warned about the record increase in cocaine production, which skyrocketed by 35 percent between 2020 and 2021 after a slowdown during the initial stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, and attributes it to the expansion of the cultivation of cocaine. coca bush and improvements in the transformation process of the leaf into cocaine hydrochloride.
The ports of the Netherlands are becoming the new entry point for cocaine into Western Europe, which “have eclipsed” Spain and Portugal, according to the report published this Thursday by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). ).
Colombia, where the vacuum left by the FARC has been filled by ex-guerrillas and foreign groups, continues to dominate the routes to North America, but not to Europe, whose shipments mostly come from Central American countries.
In addition, the UN has warned about the growth of the cocaine market in Africa and Asia, although it has admitted that it has not yet reached the levels of Europe and North America, the main consumers of this drug.
“The potential expansion of the cocaine market in Africa and Asia is a dangerous reality. I urge governments and others to carefully examine the report’s findings to determine how this transnational threat can be addressed with awareness-based transnational responses. , prevention and international and regional cooperation,” said the executive director of the Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention Ghada Waly.
Waly has also warned that the main cocaine markets, where its proportional consumption is high, cover a fifth of the world’s population and that, if it were equalized in other regions, the number of consumers would increase “enormously.”
Traffickers have diversified their means of distribution through postal mail and parcel and courier services, the use of which increased during the implementation of quarantines related to COVID-19. Drugs have been found hidden in books, religious images, and even vehicle spare parts.
Interceptions of cocaine shipments by authorities around the world have also risen sharply, reaching 2,000 tons in 2021.
The report has pointed out that countries like Spain or Argentina have experienced a decrease in drug mules on passenger flights at the same time that they have registered large shipments of unaccompanied luggage.
In countries such as Belgium, France, Spain and Italy there is an upward trend in the use of crack cocaine.