Albania is ranked 6th in the world for the production and sale of cannabis resin, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime World Drug Report 2021.
Morocco, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, and Iran ranked higher, while Kyrgyzstan, Spain, Netherlands, Nepal, and India came in below Albania.
The report also notes that while there was a dip in the quantities of drugs seized and drug-related crimes during the pandemic between March-April 2021, this dip was just temporary. Later assessments, they said, showed that there was a normalization of the situation with no significant impact on drug-trafficking activities.
According to the report, Albanian criminal networks are also involved in the distribution and trafficking of cocaine from Latin America to Europe. The gangs offer a “full service” from sourcing the drug in Latin American countries to delivering it to the final destination.
“Some of the new networks, in particular the Albanian networks, are involved in the distribution of cocaine throughout Europe and within some European countries, enabling them to implement a business model ‘from start to finish'”, the report reads.
In terms of drug use within the country, cannabis remains the most used drug, followed by tranquilizers and sedatives, and then cocaine. The number of drug deaths rose significantly between 2017 and 2018, more than doubling to 17. Most of these were from opioids.