Fri Feb 1, 2013 8:30AM
Hard drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, continue to be a problem for Europe. But the continent is also inundated with cheap, synthetic drugs that contain unknown substances and pose a serious health hazard.
Cheap and easily accessible synthetic drugs are flooding Europe’s illegal drug market. This is according to a report of Europol and the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction. The study was unveiled in Brussels. The reason these substances are so prevalent is that they’re produced in Europe, close to the consumers, in so-called mobile production units that can be easily installed at the back of a truck. But hard drugs, such as heroin, also remain a problem for Europe. However, unlike synthetic drugs, they don’t come from the continent. Afghanistan is the main supplier of heroin. According to the UN, war and insecurity have contributed to increased opium cultivation in the country. Last year, it rose 18 percent compared to the previous year. Like synthetic substances, heroin and other hard drugs are increasingly available online. Transporting drugs also takes place away from the view of police officers. More and more often, it happens through legal options, such as postal services. Fighting the illegal drug business is important not only for its own sake, but also because it goes hand in hand with other kinds of organized crime. For example, the revenue from drug dealing is frequently used to finance a wide range of illegal activities.