The $50 billion global cocaine market is undergoing seismic shifts,' said Mr. Costa. 'Purity levels and seizures (in main consumer countries) are down, prices are up, and consumption patterns are in flux. This may help explain the gruesome upsurge of violence in countries like Mexico. In Central America, cartels are fighting for a shrinking market,' he said.
In West Africa, a decline in seizures seems to reflect lower cocaine flows after five years of rapid growth. 'International efforts are paying off,' said Mr. Costa. Yet drug-related violence and political instability continue, especially in Guinea-Bissau. 'As long as demand for drugs persists, weak countries will always be targeted by traffickers. If Europe really wants to help Africa, it should curb its appetite for cocaine,' said the UN's top drug control official.
In Europe, England is the largest market and has the second highest prevalence rate while Spain has the highest prevalence rate and is the second largest market. Italy and Germany are third and fourth, respectively.