Pandemic pushing people towards making, using drugs, UN report says

Vienna - The illegal drugs trade is providing work for people hit by the coronavirus crisis, while demand for drugs is expected to rise amid the economic downturn, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says.

In Afghanistan, the world's main opium-producing country, the opium harvest that started in March was initially hampered as workers could not come in from Pakistan across the closed border.
However, Afghans who lost their jobs because of the Covid-19 crisis an in particular women stepped in to fill this labour shortage, the Vienna-based UN agency said on Thursday in its annual global drug report.
In Bolivia, the pandemic has hampered the government's ability to fight coca cultivation.
The UNODC warned that "the looming economic crisis may lead more farmers to increase or take up coca cultivation in all the major cocaine-producing countries" in Latin America.
Transport restrictions have severely hampered global drug trafficking, creating growing stockpiles that could eventually lead to a dangerous flooding of consumer markets, the UN agency warned.
The lifting of restrictions could result "in an increase in the availability of low-cost, high-purity drugs and could lead to an increase in the risk of drug overdoses."
Based on the experiences of the 2008 global economic crisis, the UNODC assumes that the current downturn could trigger an increase in drug use and a shift towards cheaper substances.
In Europe, there are signs that lockdown measures increased the demand for cannabis, the report said, pointing to large cannabis seizures in the Middle East and North Afri

Thursday, June 25th 2020

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