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Drugs: EU Agency Report, “market has adjusted to COVID-19 disruption”. Trafficking and business on social media

Not even the COVID-19 has stopped the international drug business, which has become more digital meanwhile. These findings are from the 2021 Report on drugs and drug addiction compiled by the Lisbon-based European agency in charge of the issue. The report by the EMCDDA (European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction) shows “how the drug market continues to adjust to COVID-19 disruption, as drug traffickers adapt to travel restrictions and border closures”. At wholesale level, the report reads, “this is reflected in some changes in trafficking routes and methods, with more reliance on smuggling via intermodal containers and commercial supply chains and less reliance on the use of human couriers”. Cannabis cultivation and synthetic drug production within the EU appear stable at pre-pandemic levels, “with no decline seen in the detection of production sites”. “While street-based retail drug markets were disrupted during the initial lockdowns, and some localised shortages were experienced, market adaptation is evident in the form of increased use of encrypted messaging services, social media applications, online sources and mail and home delivery services. This means that a long-term impact of the pandemic could be the further digitization of the drug markets”.

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