Covid-19 and meth: Production surged in Asia as economy faltered due to the pandemic, UNODC report says

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Methamphetamine seizures in East and Southeast Asia surged 19% from 2019 to a new record-high, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report found. The organization did not put a dollar figure on the meth trade’s value in 2020, but it was believed to be worth between $30 billion and $61 billion in 2019, according to the UNODC.

“While the pandemic has caused the global economy to slow down, criminal syndicates that dominate the region have quickly adapted and capitalized. They have continued to aggressively push supply in a conscious effort to build the market and demand,” Jeremy Douglas, the UNODC regional representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said in a statement provided to CNN.

The report found the cartels thrived through a global public health emergency by reacting quickly to the changing situation on the ground. These groups started using lesser-regulated chemicals to produce illicit drugs, manufactured narcotics in new locations that…

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