NEWS

Drug flow in Greece shoots up

Greece has become a significant drug-trafficking hub as seizures of some drugs increased by almost 500 percent last year, according to figures released by the police’s drugs squad yesterday. In its annual report, the drugs squad’s coordinating body indicated that the amount of illegal substances confiscated in Greece last year had risen substantially from previous years. Authorities seized some 1.15 million kilos of cocaine last year, compared to just over 200,000 kilos in 2003 – a rise of 474 percent. The drugs had an estimated street value of 9.2 billion euros. Seizures of heroin were also up last year, although not as dramatically as in the case of cocaine. Police confiscated almost 334,000 kilos of heroin – a rise of some 35 percent from the previous year. A report by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) also released yesterday found that some 9 million Europeans, mainly young men aged from 15 to 34, have tried cocaine. More than a third of those users have taken the drug in the last year. In Greece, one out of every 1,000 adults has likely used cocaine in 2004, according to the EMCDDA. The amount of cannabis seized last year dropped by a third compared to 2003 – from some 7.15 million kilos to 4.75 million kilos. The EMCDDA found that 3 million Europeans consume cannabis every day. One in five adults has tried the drug, the EMCDDA said. Two percent of Greeks smoked cannabis last year. Seizures of ecstasy almost doubled in 2004. Authorities captured some 88,000 tablets with a street value of up to 1.76 million euros. The EMCDDA said Europe remained a global center in the production of ecstasy.