German police are blaming a large increase in drug related crime and drug-related deaths on the migrant crisis, which consumes the majority of their resources.
The force has released new figures showing a surge in drug related deaths. Some 1,226 people died last year as a result of drug use and abuse. While the figures have slowly increased in recent years the jump between 2014 and 2015 was a staggering 18 percent. Even the number of people picking up a drug habit is on the rise from last year with a four percent increase in first time drug users of controlled substances, reports TheLocal.
Police and experts from the Office of Criminal Investigation are blaming an increase in opiate drugs like heroin for the increased death statistics as the danger of overdose and death from sudden withdrawal with such drugs is a higher risk for users. Also on the rise are amphetamines or ‘speed’ which the agency says has joined heroin in becoming ever more commonplace in Germany.
The east German states that struggle economically are by far the largest proportion of those effected by drug related deaths. Saxony, Saarland and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania have been the regions that have seen a doubling of fatal drug interactions since the year before.
Some drugs have dropped according to the Office for Criminal Investigation. Crystal meth has seen a decline in use though it was recently in the spotlight when the leader of the German Green Party Volker Beck was found with the substance. This led to many mocking the disgraced party leader who withdrew from many of his official offices but remains an MP in the Bundestag. Some took to Twitter to compare the Green leader to the TV show “Breaking Bad” featuring pictures of him photo shopped onto a title card saying, “Breaking Beck.”
— Matthias Eiting (@matteicgn) March 2, 2016
Drugs have also been a factor in migrant centres themselves. Migrant drug dealing has become a common feature in many asylum centres across Europe and police are having to conduct frequent searches to stem the tide of drug dealing. The Calais migrant camp in France especially has become a haven for drug dealers and addicts who live in squalid conditions trying to sneak on board trucks and ships bound for the United Kingdom.
Many migrants have even been deported for dealing drugs at the asylum homes, yet checks on these deportations have at times been insufficient. In one case, a man named ‘Belaid Z’ was deported and re-entered the country over ten times going back to dealing drugs as soon as he returned.
Critics from the leftist Die Linke party disagreed with what the police had to say on the matter. Drug policy spokesman Frank Tempel told media, “Repression is not an effective means of fighting drug consumption, If you arrest one dealer, a new one will almost immediately take his place – the amount of money to be made makes the risk worth it,” and said that the flood of Afghan heroin was to blame for many of the deaths as well as the fact that many drugs are cut with other substances with no consistent quality.