Drug dealers change strategy to avoid Covid-19 travel restrictions

European officials have warned that drug dealers are adapting to Covid-19 travel restrictions and border closures by shifting from using human express delivery to containers and commercial supply chains.

Law enforcement experts say that as drug dealers change wholesale smuggling routes and methods and increase the production of illegal drugs in Europe, the illegal drug market has proven to be “extraordinary resilience” to the destruction caused by the pandemic.

The European Drug and Drug Addiction Monitoring Center stated in its report that the cannabis resin produced in Morocco is usually taken to Spain and then trafficked by land to other parts of the European Union. It is now increasingly turning to shipping routes using containers. 2021 report on Wednesday.

According to reports, the amount of heroin seized at sea has increased, and heroin is usually smuggled over land from the Middle East to Europe. The agency stated that in the second half of 2020, some European seaports reported large amounts of cannabis and heroin seizures.

The report highlights the use of commercial supply chains, saying that new forms of tranquilizers appear to have been shipped from Chinese companies in bulk powder form to Europe, where they are processed into finished products, including tablets, capsules and e-liquids.

According to the report, organized criminal groups are also strengthening illegal drug production in Europe. Despite the disruption caused by Covid-19, cannabis cultivation and synthetic drug production in the European Union appear to have stabilized at pre-pandemic levels. Signs that the supply and use of cocaine may increase in connection with the pandemic are also worrying.

Alexis Goosdeel, the director of the Lisbon-based agency, said: “We are witnessing a dynamic and adaptable drug market that can withstand the restrictions of Covid-19.” “Let’s also see. To increasingly complex drug use patterns, because consumers are exposed to a wider range of highly effective natural and synthetic substances.”

Officials worry that the increase in insomnia and anxiety during the Covid-19 pandemic may lead to more people using new tranquilizers sold by criminal gangs for self-treatment. These tranquilizers are often referred to as “designer benzodiazepines.”

According to the report, these drugs are not regulated by international drug laws and are often sold as “legal” alternatives to prescription drugs such as tranquilizers and Xanax.

According to EMCCDDA, users may not know the substance or dose they are taking, which can increase the risk of serious poisoning, especially if consumed with alcohol or other tranquilizers.

“The new benzodiazepines have gained a firm foothold in the European new drug market,” Gusdir said. “As users seek new drug experiences or unavailable alternatives to prescription drugs, more substances from this group may continue to emerge.”

According to the report, although the street retail drug market was disrupted during the early blockade in 2020, drug buyers and sellers have also adapted by increasing the use of encrypted messaging services, social media applications, online resources, and email and home delivery services.

This raises the question of whether the long-term effects of the pandemic will lead to further digitization of the pharmaceutical market.

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About the Author: Agnes Zang