NEWS

AMERICAS

Almost one in 10 passengers on flights from Jamaica to the UK smuggle drugs, according to authorities in both countries. The number of seizures of heroin and ecstasy increased in Central America and the Caribbean during 2002, although the illegal substances distributed in the region were mostly cannabis and cocaine. In North America there has been a reduction in the amount of cocaine and heroin available, leading to higher prices. At the same time, seizures of drugs at airports and border crossings between Canada and the US have declined due to smugglers’ fears of increased security checks since September 11, 2001. In Mexico, the use of cannabis, heroin and cocaine is still on the rise, but the levels are still low compared to Canada and the US. In Colombia and Peru, the drug problem is increasingly related to issues of politics and national security. Guerrillas and paramilitary units in Colombia control the distribution and production networks, exchanging illegal drugs for weapons. In 2000 in Colombia, over 1,500 production labs were seized, and the authorities destroyed 55 secret escape routes.