COVID-19 unlikely to affect illicit drug supply-THE HINDU-20-05-2020
Movement restrictions owing to the COVID-19 pandemic may lead to an initial statistical reduction in drug seizures, but without a real change in terms of supply in the East and Southeast Asia region, according to the latest report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime .
Re-ordering of governments’ priorities and resources towards the pandemic could also jeopardise the efforts to strengthen drug prevention and treatment programmes, said the report on “Synthetic Drugs in East and Southeast Asia”. The flexibility of the illicit economy, which does not have to wait for new rules and regulations to enter into force, should also not be underestimated,” it said.
The UNODC said a large proportion of methamphetamine, the main synthetic drug of concern in the region, was manufactured, trafficked and consumed without the need for globalised supply chains. “Trafficking in the lower Mekong region also takes place in a variety of ways across borders which are porous and difficult to control, and cross-border movements in many places will not be significantly hindered by COVID-19 measures.
Users’ methods to access drugs would also change. Economic hardship might also reduce the disposable income of some drug users, and result in increased crime.