Last year’s discovery of more than 50 new psychoactive drugs was alarming, according to a monitoring agency.
According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, illegal drug production is on the rise in Europe. A Tuesday report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction revealed that 52 new psychoactive substances were discovered in 2021.
“The availability of established drugs has never been greater and there are still potent new substances that can affect everyone, directly or in indirect ways.,” EMCDDA director Alexis Goosdeel said.
According to the report, amphetamines and methamphetamines were among the most popular new drugs emerging from European laboratories.
In 2020, 350 facilities for drug production were destroyed, mostly in Belgium and the Netherlands. A record 213 tonnes of cocaine was confiscated by the EU. The agency called on European countries to improve drug treatment facilities and reduce harm.
The report noted that the conflict in Ukraine and NATO’s pullout from Afghanistan were likely to have an impact on the drug trade, creating “new vulnerabilities” by exposing larger populations to illegal drugs, particularly those who have suffered “Extreme psychological stress” during the wars. According to it, the healthcare systems in neighboring countries may be overextended due to large numbers of people fleeing Ukraine.
In Ukraine, the conflict will likely birth new smuggling routes as traffickers seek to “Avoid places with increased security.,” according to the agency, while in Afghanistan, the growing “Humanitarian and economic crisis” is likely to contribute to a rise in production and trafficking of illegal drugs, particularly the opium poppies and meth precursor ephedra already being grown there in substantial volume.
The first EU country to legalize marijuana for personal use
Portugal is the home of the EMCDDA. It decriminalized personal possession and use of illicit drugs in 2001 and instead treated it as an administrative offence. Overdose numbers and harm metrics have since plummeted.
The Czech Republic and the Netherlands have also decriminalized personal drug use. Germany is inching closer to legalizing cannabis use for recreational purposes.
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