The war in Ukraine could allow illegal drug production to foster while the opium market’s future hinges on the fate of crisis-wracked Afghanistan, the United Nations warned Monday.
Experience from the Middle East and Southeast Asia suggests conflict zones can act as a “magnet” for making synthetic drugs, which can be manufactured anywhere, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in its annual report.
“This effect may be greater when the conflict area is near large consumer markets.”
The UNODC said the number of dismantled amphetamine laboratories in Ukraine rose from 17 in 2019 to 79 in 2020, the highest number of seized laboratories reported in any country in 2020.
It added that Ukraine’s capacity to produce synthetic drugs could grow as the war continues.
“You don’t have police going around and stopping laboratories” in conflict zones, UNODC expert Angela Me told AFP.
“Changes in opium production in Afghanistan will have implications for opiate markets in virtually all regions of the world,” the UN said.
The UNODC report was based on information gathered from member states, its own sources, and analysing of institutional reports, the media and open-source material.