West African nations have seen an increase in drug trafficking, as well as drug use. This is especially true when it comes to synthetic drugs. This problem has been a concern for the United Nations, because they feel that the region does not have sufficient means to fight it.
“In West Africa, we see an increase of trafficking of drugs in general,” said Sahel coordinator for the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime Erik Van Der Veen. “The production of synthetic drugs are increasing in the region. Because of that, there’s higher use in the region.”
For awhile now, West Africa has been a stop for Colombian cocaine bound for Europe. The region has become a key location for the distribution of stimulants, like methamphetamine, to East and Southeast Asia. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the nations of Mali and Guinea-Bissau “remain vulnerable transit points.”
Illicit production and distribution centers have emerged in Ivory Coast, Guinea and Nigeria, and a significant amount of such stimulants have been seized in West Africa over the past year, the report said. Nigerian authorities dismantled 10 meth labs between 2011 and 2015, the report said. Authorities in Senegal have also seized chemicals used to make drugs.
Furthermore, in countries like Benin, heroin and cocaine pushers are targeting Africa’s growing middle class. To combat the drug abuse, Senegal became the first country in the region to establish a drug treatment center.
The U.N. urged the nations of West Africa to adhere to international law, with the words, “impunity and corruption both result from and facilitate further drug-related crimes.”