Social networks can become a platform for combating drug trafficking on the Internet

Соцсети могут стать платформой для борьбы с наркотрафиком в интернете

Seized cocaine shipment at the port of Kingston, Jamaica. Social networks can become a platform for combating drug trafficking on the Internet Health

Drug traffickers continue to use advanced digital technologies, social media platforms and misinformation to sell their products, driving drug use around the world. This is stated in a report published on Tuesday by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) with the support of the UN.

To combat drug trafficking on the World Wide Web, the study authors recommend using similar tools, conducting campaigns using the latest technologies on popular online platforms.

“We We see that drug trafficking occurs not only on the darknet. Criminals are also using legitimate e-commerce platforms,” said INCB President Jalal Toufic.

Social media gives drug traffickers access to consumers around the world. Criminal groups are turning them into marketplaces, particularly by hosting content aimed at teenagers.

Heroin production declines, cocaine cultivation increases

The report’s authors note a significant decline in opium poppy cultivation and heroin production in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s ban on drugs. But they do attribute the boom in methamphetamine trade in South Asia to its production in Afghanistan.

Colombia and Peru saw marked increases in illicit coca bush cultivation, up 13 percent and 18 percent respectively.

Cocaine seizures also reached record levels in 2021 in West and Central Africa, a major transit region.

Pacific island states have transformed from transit points on drug trafficking routes into markets for synthetic drugs.

The opioid crisis continues in North America, with deaths linked to synthetic opioids other than methadone topping 70,000 in 2021. In Europe, several countries are seeking to create a regulated market for cannabis for non-medical use, which INCB experts say could be incompatible with drug control.

Internet drug trafficking

Other trends associated with online drug trafficking include the use of encryption methods for communications and transactions and anonymous browsing on the dark web, as well as payment in hard-to-trace cryptocurrencies.

Criminals are shifting their operations to regions with less stringent law enforcement, often choosing countries where extradition can be avoided, the report says.

Experts note increased risk of fatalities overdoses related to the online availability of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.

Another area of ​​concern is telemedicine and online pharmacies. While such services can expand access to healthcare and simplify the process of prescribing and delivering medications, illegal online retailers that sell drugs without a prescription directly to consumers pose a very real threat to public health. The global trade in illicit pharmaceuticals is estimated at $4.4 billion.


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