Cocaine Market Booming as Methamphetamine Trafficking Spreads, Says UN Report

VIENNA (Reuters) – Demand and supply for cocaine is booming globally and trafficking in methamphetamine is expanding beyond established markets, including in Afghanistan where the drug is now produced, according to a report by the United Nations on Sunday.

Coca bush cultivation and total cocaine production reached record levels in 2021, the most recent year for which data is available, and the global number of cocaine users, estimated at 22 million in the same year, continues to grow, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Drugs. Crime said in its annual World Drug Report.

Cocaine seizures, however, grew faster than production, containing the total supply to some extent, according to the report. The upper end of the estimated total supply was higher in the mid-2000s than today.

“The world is currently experiencing a prolonged increase in the supply and demand for cocaine, which is now being felt worldwide and is likely to drive the development of new markets beyond traditional boundaries,” the report said. UNODC.

“Although the global cocaine market continues to be concentrated in the Americas and Western and Central Europe (with very high prevalence also in Australia), in relative terms it appears that the fastest growth, although based from very low initial levels, to occur in developing markets found in Africa, Asia and South Eastern Europe,” he said.

While nearly 90% of methamphetamine seized globally was in two regions – East and Southeast Asia and North America – seizure data suggests that these markets have stabilized at a high level, but traffic has increased elsewhere, such as in the Middle East and West Africa, according to the report. .

He added that reports and seizures involving methamphetamine produced in Afghanistan suggested the drug economy was changing in that country, where 80% of the world’s illicit opium poppy, which is used to make heroin, is produced.

“Questions remain about the links between the illegal manufacture of heroin and methamphetamine (in Afghanistan) and whether the two markets will develop in parallel or if one will replace the other,” he added.

(Reporting by François Murphy; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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