FILE - In this Tuesday, May 27, 2014 file photo, a drug dealer poses with cannabis products as he waits for customers in downtown Lisbon. The European Union agency that monitors drug use says it has detected a trend of escalating violence between gangs operating on the continent. The agency says in its annual report on the drugs market that European consumers increasingly have access to "a wide variety of high-purity and high-potency products." (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, File)

EU drug agency sees rising gang violence amid steady prices

November 26, 2019 - 4:02 am

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — The European Union agency that monitors drug use says it has detected a trend of escalating violence between gangs operating on the continent.

The agency says in its annual report on the drugs market that European consumers increasingly have access to "a wide variety of high-purity and high-potency products."

It adds that these products are available at the same price or cheaper than over the past decade.

Europe’s biggest market is for cannabis, worth at least 11.6 billion euros ($12.8 billion) in 2017, followed by cocaine with an estimated minimum market value that year of 9.1 billion euros ($10 billion).

The Lisbon, Portugal-based European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction notes in its report Tuesday that illicit drugs are "the most valuable market" for criminal organizations in the EU.

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