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Border controls, blockages and flight shortages linked to the coronavirus make illegal drugs more expensive and difficult to obtain worldwide, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said in a report released Thursday.

The pandemic has a mixed effect on drug production in different regions and on smuggling by air, land and sea, but the general trend in countries where drugs are used appears to be relatively uniform, said UNODC in its report. on Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.




Afghan farmers extract raw opium from poppy buds in a poppy field in Kandahar, Afghanistan, April 12, 2020.

Afghan farmers extract raw opium from poppy buds in a poppy field in Kandahar, Afghanistan, April 12, 2020. Photo: Muhammad Sadiq / EPA

While opioids such as heroin are almost entirely transported by land, where increased controls can disrupt deliveries, cocaine is mainly shipped by sea. A recent increase in heroin seizures in the Indian Ocean may indicate an increase in heroin shipments to Europe by sea, said the UNODC.

The current lack of thefts is likely to have a “particularly drastic” effect on the smuggling of synthetic drugs, including methamphetamine, to countries like South Korea, Japan and Australia, he added.

In Afghanistan, the world’s leading heroin producer, the opium harvest between March and June could be disrupted if workers cannot or do not want to travel, said UNODC, although it provided little supporting evidence.

In Bolivia, the recent challenges of the spread of COVID-19, combined with the political turmoil in late 2019, appear to limit the ability of state authorities to control the cultivation of coca bush, said UNODC.

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