Brussels.— Methamphetamine production and trafficking are at levels never before seen in Europe, as a result of collaboration between Criminal organizations premises and Mexican narco, holds the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).
In its annual report published this Wednesday, it points out that before and during the pandemic, the mexican crime involved in the clandestine business This illicit substance left a trace in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Holland, Spain and nations of Eastern Europe.
Is criminal activity poses a growing challenge as well as an additional threat to drug problem European because it could alter the internal consumption patterns.
The report argues that historically the use of methamphetamine in Europe it has been limited to the Czech Republic, and more recently in Slovakia, countries that register the highest rates of damage from this consumption.
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However, due to changes in production and traffic, there is a risk that consumption of ethe drug is gone in the rest of Europe.
“These changes are linked to collaborations between European criminal groups and Mexicans ”, maintains the EMCDDA.
More and more laboratories have been discovered on European soil. In 2019, 370 clandestine laboratories were dismantled, of which 267 were specialized in the production of methamphetamine. In 2020, 32 were found in the Netherlands alone.
The production centers are also larger and more sophisticated. In 2019, the largest clandestine plants were discovered in Belgium (three) and the Netherlands (nine), “sometimes involving European and Mexican groups.”
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Simultaneously, the Mexican methamphetamine trafficking through the European Union to other markets, particularly Asia, the Middle East and Oceania.
The States of the Union seized a total of 2.9 tons of methamphetamine in 2019, up from 0.6 tons confiscated the previous year. Spain alone seized 1.6 tons from Mexico, while Slovakia reported the interception of 1.5 tons of methamphetamine originating in Mexico in 2020.
In 2019, Austria and Germany also reported shipments air postcards with methamphetamine from Mexico.
The Lisbon-based organization maintains that Spain, Slovakia and Belgium identify “Mexico as a major source country for methamphetamine seized since 2017.”
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The director of the EMCDDA, Alexis Goosdeel, warns that the situation could become even more complicated as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic legacy.
“One of the big concerns is that in the face of the economic recession, much bigger than the one we had in 2008, there is the potential for methamphetamine to become available in Europe for the most vulnerable customers. It is a real risk that cannot be underestimated ”.
The purity level of methamphetamine available in Europe ranges from 16% to 94%, and it is available in powder and crystal form. Some subgroups, mainly those who participate in the chemsex phenomenon the chemical sex, they usually inject or smoke the drug.
In 2019 there were 9,200 people receiving specialized treatment for its consumption4,500 of them for the first time. Czech Republic, Germany, Slovakia and Turkey, account for 90% of the problem users.
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The European Report on Drugs 2021: Trends and news, also highlights the increase in the potency of cannabis available in the European market, as well as the purity of the cocaine circulating on community streets.
The cocaine seizures in 2019 they climbed to 213 tonnes, up from 177 the previous year. Preliminary data on seizures in 2020 indicate that availability did not decrease during the pandemic.
Covid-19 also did not stop the emergence of new drugs, 46 emerged in the EU last year, nor did organized crime activity, on the contrary, the lockdowns accelerated the transition from the trade in illicit substances to the digital market.
Regarding consumption, the pandemic caused it to go from night life to home life, while less popular substances gained traction, such as hallucinogens, ketamine and GHB.
Alexis Goosdeel affirms that faced with this challenge, there is no quick and unique solution. Drug policies are required adapted to the new reality, in which the consumer is no longer the one who was considered marginalized, today it is different, he uses intelligent communications to access his favorite product.
“It requires the proper balance, combining public health and law enforcement with public health.” It argues that it is like yin and yang, in that if you push a policy in only one direction it only leads to the “destructive stage.”