Europe a Major Global Hub for Billion Dollar Cocaine Market: Report | News

An estimated 14 million adults in the EU aged 15 to 65 have tried cocaine, with sales of the drug reaching $11.1 billion in 2020.

According to a new report from European Union agencies, the cocaine and methamphetamine market in Europe is growing due to record levels of human trafficking.

Cocaine imported into Europe from South America is increasingly re-exported to other parts of the world, particularly the Middle East and Asia, making Europe “a major transshipment point for drugs from elsewhere,” the joint statement said. report released on Friday. by law enforcement agency Europol and the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).

In 2020, the largest amount of cocaine ever seized – 214.6 tons – was seized for the fourth consecutive year in the EU, Norway and Turkey, according to the report.

The growing market in Europe has resulted in “record levels of drug availability, increased violence and corruption, and worsening health problems,” EMCDDA director Alexis Goosdeel said in a statement.

According to the report, cocaine is the second most consumed drug in Europe after cannabis, with millions of users and a turnover of approximately 10.5 billion euros ($11.1 billion).

The report also describes a “growing threat from a more diverse and dynamic drug market, which relies on close cooperation between European and international criminal organizations”.

An estimated 14 million adults in the EU aged 15 to 65 have tried cocaine, which is either snorted as a white powder or smoked in a form commonly known as crack cocaine.

Methamphetamine, the world’s most widely used synthetic stimulant drug, plays a “relatively minor role in the European drug market”, the report said, although the latest data points to a “growing threat”.

Between 2010 and 2020, the number of methamphetamine seizures in the EU more than doubled, while the quantities increased by 477 percent to 2.2 tonnes in 2020.

Pharmaceutical production in Europe has traditionally taken place in small ‘kitchen’ laboratories in the Czech Republic and neighboring countries, but now also takes place in industrial-scale laboratories in the Netherlands and Belgium.

European producers are now increasingly collaborating with Mexican criminal groups to fine-tune production processes, the EU agencies warned.

In Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Spain, “competition between drug suppliers has intensified, leading to an increase in violent clashes, murders and kidnappings.

Corruption is also a major threat in the EU, the report added, noting that nearly 60 percent of criminal networks use corruption to facilitate their illegal activities.

Crystal methamphetamine is an “unwelcome addition to the EU drug market,” the report adds, citing concerns about its health effects, including “acute toxicity, psychotic episodes, polydrug use and death.”

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