The State Criminal Police Office of North Rhine-Westphalia sees a real boom in illegal Internet trading and worldwide mailing of drugs. “The pandemic is likely to have exacerbated this phenomenon,” said the investigators in their report on drug crime 2020, which has now been published. According to the paper, the number of drug deaths in NRW has risen dramatically.
In 2020, according to the situation report, 401 people died in North Rhine-Westphalia because of drugs. This is the highest level in 20 years. In particular, the number of fatalities among long-term users rose sharply: They accounted for around 76 percent of all drug deaths. The mean age of the total fatality was 43.1 years.
The number of identified drug offenses fell compared to 2019 by 1.4 percent to 67,941. With 816 smuggling, twice as many cases were registered as in the previous year. Most of it was uncovered by customs – which intercepts drugs that come to Germany by post, among other things.
The number of offenses relating to cannabis remained high – but fell slightly compared to the previous year at 43,165. There was a 6.9 percent decrease in heroin – 2972 offenses. The decrease was small for cocaine (4,193 cases) and synthetic drugs (11,107 cases).
More and cheaper offers on the Internet
“The drug trade has shifted further into the digital space, especially into the Darknet,” said the investigators. The offers known to the Federal Criminal Police Office have risen by around 30 percent – in addition, the drugs there are becoming cheaper and cheaper.
According to the LKA “Noticeably many drug finds reported, which confirm that smuggling attempts have increased significantly.” One possible explanation for the police: the perpetrators could have tried to “replenish their drug stores” before the impending lockdown.