The United Nations Drugs and Crime Agency (UNODC) raised speculations on Thursday about the rise of drug use and nacortics trafficking, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Agency revealed this fear in its 2020 World Drug Report. “The virus could lead to an overall increase in drug use with a shift towards cheaper products and injecting, both of which could mean greater danger for users”.
The crime Agency posited that drug use is likely to be on the increase, as countries are more likely to further reduce drug-related budgets and to give less priority to anti-trafficking operations due to Covid-19 concerns.
Rising unemployment and a lack of opportunities would increase the chances that poor and disadvantaged people “turn to illicit activities linked to drugs -– either production or transport”, the report said.
UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly, in a statement attached the report worried that
“The COVID-19 crisis and economic downturn threaten to compound drug dangers further still, when our health and social systems have been brought to the brink and our societies are struggling to cope,”
“We need all governments to show greater solidarity and provide support, to developing countries most of all, to tackle illicit drug trafficking and offer evidence-based services for drug use disorders and related disease.”
The Vienna-based agency said there were lessons to be learnt from what happened in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis.
The UNODC warned that drug consumption has already been rising at an “alarming” rate over the last decade.
“This is a very alarming increase. Not just the increase in the amount of people using drugs, but there are more youths, adolescents, children using drugs,” Waly told AFP on Thursday”.
Global cocaine production is at an all-time high, continuing its record-setting trend, according to AFP.
While the area under coca cultivation remained stable from 2017 to 2018, production has become more efficient.
Cannabis remains the most widely used drug worldwide with an estimated 192 million users in 2018, but opioids, used by around 58 million people, remained the most harmful.
Opioids accounted for two-thirds of the estimated 167,000 deaths related to drug use disorders in 2017.