Drug abuse has reached a “whole new level” as more people dabble in cocaine, according to police sources, with emerging trends suggesting that some users can splurge on over €400 worth of the drug in one weekend.

People’s attitudes towards drug abuse are changing rapidly, a trend that is also seen in the rest of Europe.

“We have seen instances of someone saving for a whole month and then going out on the weekend and thinking nothing of spending €400 on cocaine,” one source said.

While the drug law reform which came into force in 2015 was not a bad idea in its enti-rety, it reinforced the mentality among some people that drug use could be taken lightly, the source continued.

The Sunday Times of Malta was seeking reactions to a report published earlier this week which showed that last year seizures of cocaine had quadrupled over 2014, with the police seizing more than 20 kilograms.

More than 108 kilograms of cannabis resin, 88 cannabis plants, 10 times the amount confiscated two years before, as well as 12 kilograms of cannabis grass were found by the police.

There have been instances where someone saves up for a whole month and then goes out one weekend and thinks nothing of spending €400 on cocaine

Yet while insisting that the drug problem in Malta is real and on the rise, the police source said the seizures did not always paint a clear picture of the real situation.

While not dismissing the work done by the police force, the sources added that luck did play a big part in drug finds, as dealers often operated systems “akin to those by Mexican cartels”.

“It could be that one year we seized a large amount at one go, and that raises figures, but it does not necessarily mean that more drugs were consumed that year than the year before or that the problem took a sudden turn for the worse.”

Last year, in one massive haul, about 15 kilograms of cocaine were found in a car that had just arrived in Malta from Italy.

The discovery was made by members of the police force’s drug squad, who worked in collaboration with the customs law enforcement section.

At the same time, the source went on, dealers were always one step ahead, adding that there had been instances when the police spent days searching places they were sure dealers were operating from but still did not succeed in finding any drugs. “We’re talking about organised criminals who make millions, not just some petty theft,” the source added.

The channels for illicit drugs vary depending on the type of drug being imported. While consignments of cocaine often originate from South America and are most likely to come through Central Europe, cannabis shipments tend to come from further south.

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