COCAINE production has hit record levels as demand rebounds after lockdowns, a report found.
Global coca cultivation rose by 35 per cent between 2020 and 2021, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime revealed.
And it said traffickers used international post services significantly more during the pandemic to get drugs to consumers, due to restrictions on passenger flights.
In the UK, the report says there has been a “significant increase” in seizures of cocaine in the “fast parcel and postal modes”.
It also noted a rise in West African countries involved in the use of “well established, globally operating postal services as well as smaller shopping companies” to smuggle the drug abroad.
Additional cultivation and improved refining have boosted the trade.
The report found Europe and North America are the largest markets for cocaine, followed by South and Central America and the Caribbean.
Demand for cocaine had plunged as nightclubs and bars were shut during the pandemic lockdowns.
But the report said: “This slump has had little impact on longer-term trends.”
“However, the most recent data suggests this slump has had little impact on longer-term trends,” the report says. “The global supply of cocaine is at record levels.”