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Forget oil, cocaine prices in France SURGE thanks to coronavirus crisis

Forget oil, cocaine prices in France SURGE thanks to coronavirus crisis
The coronavirus pandemic and the travel restrictions that came with it have severely reduced the supply of illegal drugs entering France, sending prices skyrocketing and users turning to cheaper alternatives.

The go-to land routes for drug traffickers crossing into France from the Netherlands and Spain have largely been closed off, thanks to the pandemic. With traffic curtailed so severely authorities have time to thoroughly check vehicles passing through the country's borders and as a result they’re finding more drugs. 

Cannabis prices have soared by up to 60 percent in some regions of France according to the Anti-Narcotics Office, while cocaine prices are soaring by over 14 percent in many areas. 

"The price of cocaine has increased to €32,000 per kilo, from between €25,000 to €28,000 just before the lockdown," explained France's drug czar Virginie Lahaye. 

Air traffic from normal sources of cocaine and harder narcotics, like Latin America, has also dropped significantly, leaving only maritime routes to supply the country's users, who are already turning to alternatives in the face of price spikes. 

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French President Emmanuel Macron is still considering loosening the lockdown restrictions across the country on May 11. However, one of the country's chief scientific advisers on the coronavirus Jean-François Delfraissy has said that some 500,000 tests per week need to be performed in order for restrictions to be lifted in any kind of safe and sustainable way. However, testing has yet to significantly surpass 150,000 per week at the current rate. 

The 71-year-old immunologist estimated that there could be 10,000 to 15,000 new infections per day once French schools and non-essential businesses reopen.

At present, France has over 159,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection, having suffered 20,829 deaths, according to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

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