Belgium has overtaken Spain as the hub of the fast-growing European drug market, as the availability of narcotics in the Continent reaches an “all-time high,” according to a European Union (EU) report.
The report shows that Belgium is playing an enlarged role in both the distribution and production markets of cocaine, methamphetamines and other illicit drugs, such as ketamine and GBL.
The report was published by the EU’s drug agency, and it examines data from 2017.
That year, 45 tons of cocaine were seized in the port of Antwerp, placing Belgium just ahead of Spain, where 41 tons of the drug were seized in 2017.
The high number of cocaine entering through the Belgian port —Europe’s second-largest, behind Rotterdam’s— indicates that Belgium is at the heart of a “reorganisation of the cocaine supply chain” in the continent.
“A large portion of the drugs found in Antwerp had a different final destination,” Alex Goosdeel, director of the EU agency, told De Morgen.