It may seem hard to believe in the moment, but could there actually be some positive effects coming out of COVID-19? According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the answer is yes. Data they shared with The Financial Times shows the national quarantines have severely impacted narcotics smugglers and illegal drug traffickers; particularly when it comes to cocaine.
The process of shipping and receiving narcotics internationally has become much more difficult in the past four months, especially from countries within Central and South America. The UN believes that the production of the drugs has greatly slowed as well, due to similar COVID-19 quarantines across the globe.
“The measures implemented by governments to counter the Covid-19 pandemic have thus inevitably affected all aspects of the illegal drug markets, from the production and trafficking of drugs to their consumption,” a UN rep Antonio Mazzitelli told The Financial Times. “It has become more difficult for criminal organizations to get cocaine into the maritime ports because borders are closed, roads are closed, you have police officers everywhere.”
One silver lining that we were able to pick up from that quote pertains to “drug consumption” as well. Obviously, if the narcotics having a harder time arriving in the United States, then less people will be using them. Though it may ultimately be a forced detox, we are hopeful that an abrupt halt in cocaine availability may force at least some people to get clean.
Another interesting point brought up by the UN concerns how many of the largest cartels are responding to this economic hit. According to their research, this situation has greatly increased competition between large criminal organizations. Mazzitelli added that some of the fiercest battles happening right now are between crimes bosses in Mexico and Colombia.
He went on to say that, for extreme addicts, demand is still high; particularly because a lot of these drugs have become more scarce. If you are in desperate need of a fix, there are still ways to attain cocaine; albeit at a much higher price point.
“People are prepared to pay more money because it’s much harder to get your drugs than before when you could go out and meet your dealer,” he concluded. “Now you have to use the drug delivery networks or the dark web. For the retail drug dealer it’s a dream scenario. For the drug producer it’s frustrating.”