The launch of World Day Against Drug Trafficking released a UN report on Thursday to warn countries of the growing risks of drug trafficking due to the pandemic. The international organization points to an increase in drug trafficking, the use of more harmful substances and the reduction of public health budgets.
In his report, published annually on World Drug Traficking Day, the United Nations Agency for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), compares the global Covid-19 epidemic in the drug market to narcotic for the 2008 financial crisis.
Rising unemployment and lack of financial opportunities may drive “the poor and disadvantaged to turn to illegal drug-related activities – whether production or transport,” the agency writes.
State budget down
“The Covid-19 crisis and the economic slowdown threaten to exacerbate the dangers of drugs, while our health and social systems are on the rise and our communities are struggling to cope,” said the CEO. from UNODC, Ghada Waly.
The UN agency fears that governments will reduce their budgets for the prevention and care of consumers, but also for the financing of the international fight against drug trafficking.
The Agency calls on states to “show greater solidarity and in particular support developing countries, to fight human trafficking” and to deal with drug-related pathologies.
Boundary closures and other restrictions caused by the pandemic management have already caused a shortage in the pharmaceutical market, increased prices and reduced the purity of the substance, the report states.
Traffickers seem to be more dependent on freight routes, especially for transporting cocaine from South America to Europe. Online traffic via “darknet”, which gives users complete anonymity, as well as mailing, can also increase.
This trend is part of a global increase in drug consumption, especially in developing countries, according to the report which analyzes the data until early 2019.
About 269 million people used drugs worldwide in 2018, 30% more than in 2009, while more than 35 million users suffer from medical conditions.
Cannabis was the most widely used substance in the world in 2018, with approximately 192 million users. However, opioids are still the most harmful with the last decade an increase of 71% of deaths related to their use.