Coronavirus pandemic is pushing up the price of illegal drugs, U.N. says

Coronavirus pandemic is pushing up the price of illegal drugs, U.N. says
  • Clock-gray 08:03
  • calendar-gray 07 May 2020

Coronavirus-related border controls, lockdowns and flight shortages are making illegal drugs more expensive and difficult to obtain around the world, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said in a report published on Thursday, APA reports quoting Reuters.

The pandemic is having a mixed effect on drug production in different regions and on smuggling by air, land and sea, but the overall trend in countries where drugs are consumed appears to be relatively uniform, the UNODC said in the report on COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. 

“Many countries across all regions have reported an overall shortage of numerous types of drugs at the retail level, as well as increases in prices, reductions in purity and that drug users have consequently been switching substance (for example, from heroin to synthetic opioids) and/or increasingly accessing drug treatment,” the report said. 

While opioids like heroin are almost entirely transported by land, where increased checks may be disrupting deliveries, cocaine is mainly shipped by sea. A recent rise in heroin seizures in the Indian Ocean might indicate an increase in heroin shipments to Europe by sea, the UNODC said. 

The current lack of flights will probably have a “particularly drastic” effect on smuggling of synthetic drugs including methamphetamine to countries such as South Korea, Japan and Australia, it added. 

In Afghanistan, the world’s biggest producer of heroin, the opium harvest between March and June might be disrupted if workers are unable or unwilling to travel, the UNODC said, though it provided little evidence to support that.


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