UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The volume of cocaine seized by authorities in Europe doubled in 2017 to a record 140 tonnes in a strong indicator of increased shipments of drugs from Latin America, the Lisbon-based European Center for Drug Control and Addiction said on Thursday.
Cocaine has come back strongly in Europe since the financial crisis, when its price hikes cut consumption. The growth of supplies, the increase in the number of smuggling gangs and the increase in income from trafficking are boosting the spread of the drug.
The volume of seized cocaine shipments jumped in 2017, the latest year, from 71 tonnes in the previous year to 140 tonnes in that year, the center said in its annual report on drug status in Europe. The last peak recorded in 2006 was 120 tonnes.
According to the report, the latest evidence suggests that drug consumption is increasing in the UK, France and the Netherlands. According to estimates, about 2.6 million people in the 15-34 age group took cocaine in 2017 in all EU countries.
The price of the drug has stabilized due to increased supplies in Europe but its purity has reached its highest level in 10 years.
“Cocaine is entering Europe through several corridors and using many routes, but the increase in large-scale cargo smuggling and the use of containers through shipping has become a major challenge,” the report said.
The report pointed to the role of social media and the Internet in the provision of cocaine.
There are also growing indications that cocaine abuse is causing more health problems with a 37 percent increase in the number of people needing medical care in the EU between 2014 and 2017, the report said.
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