A new report has found that the use of crack cocaine in the UK is increasing and cocaine production has reached a record level high as demand continues to increase post lockdown.
According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and their new Global Report on Cocaine, the cultivation of coca rose by 35% between 2020 and 2021.
The report said, “The global supply of cocaine is at record levels. Almost 2,000 tons was produced in 2020, continuing a dramatic uptick in manufacture that began in 2014, when the total was less than half of today’s levels.
“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. Interceptions by law enforcement have also been on the rise, at a higher speed than production, meaning that interdiction has contained the growth of the global amount of cocaine available for consumption.”
In addition, it was also noted that the use of crack is increasing in the UK as well as Belgium, France and Spain.
The report reads, “The use of “crack” cocaine is on an upward trend in several Western European countries, according to data on people seeking treatment for the first time. While the use of “crack” has been well documented in the United Kingdom, countries in continental Europe also appear to show an increased incidence. Belgium, France and Spain each registered abrupt rises in crack users entering
treatment starting in 2017 or 2018. Italy also showed a slow but steady increase.”
The report also found that new trafficking hubs emerged out of West and Central Africa. The 184 page document also highlights that Colombia is still the dominant trafficking route for cocaine even though new paths have emerged.
There has also been significant growth in the use of international postal services as a means of drug trafficking.
The report said, “The use of parcel and courier services increased significantly during COVID-related lockdowns. Restrictions on passenger flights meant traffickers could not rely on couriers to transport drugs on planes. Some countries in West Africa noted a significant increase in these services to smuggle small quantities of cocaine to Europe and beyond. In Costa Rica, smaller quantities of cocaine were being mailed to Asia, Africa and Europe concealed in goods such as books, religious images, and vehicle spare parts.”
In related news, a semi-submersible craft was found in Columbia with $87 million worth – 2643 kilograms – of cocaine on board, as well as two dead bodies and two surviving crew members.