Coca cultivation and cocaine sale has hit a record according to a report from the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The report, released on Thursday, says the new record represents a 35% increase from 2022 and 2021, amid new cocaine trafficking hubs emerging in southeastern Europe and Africa.
Demand for cocaine across the world has grown over the past decade, and while the main markets remain in the Americas and Europe, there is a “strong potential” for expansion in Asia and Africa, according to UNODC.
“The surge in the global cocaine supply should put all of us on high alert,”
“The potential for the cocaine market to expand in Africa and Asia is a dangerous reality. I urge governments and others to closely examine the report’s findings to determine how this transnational threat can be met with transnational responses based on awareness raising, prevention, and international and regional cooperation.” UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly said in a statement.
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Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru — which have historically dominated the production of coca leaves — altogether cultivated an area of more than 300,000 hectares in 2021, the Vienna-based United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said.
“It is my hope that the report will support evidence-based strategies which stay ahead of future developments in cocaine production, trafficking, and use,” Angela Me, chief of the Research and Analysis Branch at UNODC, said in a statement.
The report came shortly after a submarine with two dead bodies and nearly three tons of cocaine on board was seized in the Pacific Ocean.
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