Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The UK's Cocaine Glut

There are signs of change in Britain's cocaine market. Though overall use has not increased, supply has soared and dealers are offering a purer product. Data on small-scale drug busts show that cocaine purity rose steadily from 26% in 2011 to 44% in 2015.
It was reported in July that a European branch of Mexico's Sinaloa cartel had formed an alliance with a Romanian criminal group in order to smuggle narcotics into the UK. The Netherlands and Spain are the principal transit hubs for cocaine moving to the UK. Upwards of 100 metric tons of cocaine is shipped to the UK each year.

Surprisingly, street prices have not budged, even as wholesale prices fall. That is partly because cocaine has a known street price of £40 ($53) per gram. Raise it, and users go elsewhere; lower it and they suspect an inferior product.
Britain’s import boom has been fuelled by Colombia's increased production of coca, from 49,000 hectares in 2012 to 146,000 in 2016. The collapse in 2014-15 of the Colombian peso against the dollar made exporting that much more profitable. More and better cocaine will only lead to more people getting hooked faster say experts.