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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

Cocaine delivered faster than pizza: survey

Drug gangs run efficient delivery operations to corner the market in major cities, study shows

Spanish customs authorities show contents of a record cocaine seizure which was hidden among boxes of bananas in a shipping container in this still image from video in Algeciras, Spain, released April 25, 2018. SPANISH INTERIOR MINISTRY via REUTERS
Spanish customs authorities show contents of a record cocaine seizure which was hidden among boxes of bananas in a shipping container in this still image from video in Algeciras, Spain, released April 25, 2018. SPANISH INTERIOR MINISTRY via REUTERS

Cocaine is being delivered faster to the doorstep than pizza as drugs gangs employ the tactics of major online retailers to expand their markets, a global drugs survey has found.

The survey of some 15,000 cocaine users found that some 30 per cent could get a gram of the drug delivered in less than 30 minutes compared with 16.5 per cent for pizza.

The drugs delivery service has grown as deals on street corners have become less attractive because of the number of security cameras in outside spaces, according to the Global Drugs Survey 2018 produced by a London-based research team.

Some of the swiftest responses to drug orders were in the United Kingdom where 86 per cent of cocaine users in Scotland claimed they could receive a delivery within a day. In Brazil, 45 per cent of respondents said they could receive a delivery in less than 30 minutes.

The study identified Glasgow in Scotland as the city where more people than anywhere else, nearly 90 per cent, said they could receive same-day cocaine deliveries. Possession of cocaine is illegal in most countries.

“Rapid home delivery of many products is part of our lives and represents the expansion and sophistication of retail markets around the world,” according to the authors of the study. “Our findings show… that in any competitive market place a retailer with something to sell will endeavour to break down as many barriers to purchase for their customers as possible and beat their competition in customer service.”

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It said the rise in drug market places on hard-to-reach parts of the internet – the so-called Darknet – and encrypted social media platforms had made ordering illicit drugs relatively safe.

“It’s not surprising that the next customer service upgrade was going to be the growth of sophisticated and rapid drug delivery services in many of our big cities,” it said.

The overall study involved online questionnaires of nearly 130,000 people in 44 countries, predominantly from Europe and the Americas. No Middle East countries crossed the reporting threshold of 40 respondents, according to the data.

Gram for gram, cocaine remains the most expensive commonly used drug in the world. The survey warned that faster delivery services and higher drug purities of cocaine could lead to increasing use and growing health problems. It also suggested links to increased crime and violence in major cities.