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Strong Euro creates strong demand for cocaine

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Reality is stranger than fiction.




Strength of the euro has created surge in cocaine market in Europe, experts claim

Last updated at 01:17am on 12th April 2008


The euro's gains against the dollar may be affecting the cocaine market - attracting the drug from U.S. markets to greater profits in Europe.


U.S. drugs tsar John Walters said some EU countries had experienced 'enormous increases' in the availability of the Class A drug.


The past year has seen falls in purity of cocaine in the United States, rising prices and a decline in volumes seized at the southwestern border, Walters said.


"There have been speculations that the power and strength of the euro and the cost of cocaine here in Europe have been the reason here for the movement - it's more profitable and it's a better currency exchange," he told reporters during as visit to Brussels.


"There's no doubt that those forces are there," said Walters, director of U.S. national drug control policy.


A spokesman for the European Commission had no immediate comment, but the euro has risen about 20 percent against the dollar in the past year, hitting a record high of $1.5912 on Thursday.

Walters also pointed to workplace drug testing to explain the fall in the United States as well as pressure on Colombia's FARC guerrillas and a crackdown on supply networks for Colombian cocaine though Mexico.


Workplace drug testing showed a 20 percent drop in positive cocaine tests in the United States in 2007, he said.


Walters reiterated U.S. concerns about a rise in trafficking of Colombian cocaine via Venezuela and from there through West Africa.


He said the long-term solution was for countries, including European states with better relations than the United States had with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, to "reach out and encourage him to do the right thing" to stop the trade.

"Our goal working with the Europeans is not just to move the cocaine from the United States to Europe," he said.


"Our goal is to remove the cocaine.


"A movement through West Africa that destabilises the nations of West Africa further than their already weakened state is not good for anybody in Europe, or South America, or North America, or Africa. Obviously that is a critical issue."

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