The war on drugs seems to be on the rise, with record drug seizures becoming a recurring feature in the weekly news. However, with our minds on the millions of euro passing through Malta on its way to Europe, the public takes little note of the widespread use of recreational substances across the islands.
Sources within the Police’s Drugs squad described current illegal recreational use, particularly among cocaine and marijuana, as “widespread” across both Malta and Gozo.
“When I first started in Vice, cocaine was a ‘high-class’ drug, but nowadays, we find people from any area or any background in possession of the drug,” the sources explained
Without making any reference to a particular case, sources explained how the unit had discovered people from all works of life abusing the drug, “whether they were 40+ people in a kazin, or 20-year-olds at a club.”
“There was a time where you could say that a particular bar or area would be a hotbed for drug use, but now you find it in most bars,” sources said.
In fact, since the Drug Dependency Act came into force, 2,710 people have been charged with simple possession. That’s roughly two people every day, for the last four years.
When it came to cocaine and marijuana, there was one clear distinction between the two, with the former being ever present in Malta’s club scene while the latter rarely appearing except at a few select events.
While the use of drugs seems to be widespread, the work being done by both police and customs should be rightly praised.
Raids and massive seizures have become commonplace, with the arrest of alleged drug kingpin Jordan Azzopardi and the discovery of €2.7 million worth of South American cocaine being of particular note.
Last year alone saw a mammoth 17 tonnes worth of drugs seized by officials, most of which is attributed to the 16 tonnes of cannabis seized in two separate operations which are now officially considered the two largest drug hauls in Maltese history.
The majority of these drugs do appear to be targeted for the wider European market, however sources also described how drugs are able to enter Malta for local consumption.
“I would say 99% of all weed comes through Sicily…cocaine is a different story; when you close one route, three more open,” the source told Lovin Malta.