by TYLER DURDEN at zerohedge.com
Global cocaine demand and supply are rising. Demand for illicit drugs is exceeding post-pandemic levels as new drug smuggling highways emerge, a report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime found.
“The world is currently experiencing a prolonged surge in both supply and demand of cocaine, which is now being felt across the globe and is likely to spur the development of new markets beyond the traditional confines,” the UN’s latest Global Report on Cocaine said.
On the supply side, the report found coca bush cultivation covered 315,000 hectares in 2021, representing a marked increase from 2020, and total cocaine production reached 2,304 tons, which was the seventh consecutive year-on-year increase.
The coca bush cultivation and production were both at “record highs,” the report found.In terms of demand, there were an estimated 22 million cocaine users in 2021. This population “has been growing gradually but steadily, driven by global population growth and compounded by increasing prevalence rates in the last two decades (from 0.32 percent of the general population in 2004 to 0.42 percent in 2021),” the report said.
Cocaine seizures have also increased, reaching 2,026 tons (unadjusted for purity) in 2021. The report found, “the growth in seizures has outpaced that in production and, therefore, to a certain extent, contained the net supply available for consumption.”
“Although the global cocaine market continues to be concentrated in the Americas and in Western and Central Europe (with very high prevalence also in Australia), in relative terms, it appears that the fastest growth, albeit building on very low initial levels, is occurring in developing markets found in Africa, Asia, and South-Eastern Europe,” it said.
With nightclubs and bars reopened, and international travel normalizing, demand for party drugs is rising.read more