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HomeCosta RicaEcstasy Seizures in Costa Rica: Tourists and Youth Market Targeted by Gangs

Ecstasy Seizures in Costa Rica: Tourists and Youth Market Targeted by Gangs

According to Costa Rica’s Public Prosecutor’s Office, synthetic drugs such as lysergic acid (LSD), MDMA or ecstasy, ketamine, and fentanyl are sold in the country. They also mentioned that often these drugs are advertised and offered on social media and delivered by dealers to the consumer’s home.

The prosecutor of the Specialized Jurisdiction in Organized Crime, Esteban Chavarría Araya, indicated that prices could vary depending on the country’s region. However, for example, in beach areas, the Caribbean, or the capital city, the cost per dose ranges from ¢5,000 to ¢20,000 ($9.23 to $37).

“The consumer market is not the same as conventional drugs. They are not well-known street addicts, but people with different positions; we see them immersed in their daily jobs and have normal social development, in contrast to the deterioration that affects the population of crack drug users,” Chavarría emphasized.

Chavarría also highlighted a grave issue: there are consumers who, thanks to their relationship with medical personnel from the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS), have access to prescriptions for psychotropic drugs such as clonazepam or diazepam.

The consumption and illegal commercialization of other substances, such as fentanyl or tramadol, is, unfortunately, also common.

Data from the Drug Control Police (PCD) shows the list of narcotics seizures is led by ecstasy with 117,922 doses, followed by LSD with 31 and ketamine with 15. The PCD also mentioned that ketamine is imported because, so far, no laboratory has been set up or disintegrated for manufacturing in the country.

“These drugs are consumed mainly in coastal areas, also in electronic music parties, where the young population mostly consumes it,” said Chavarría.

The prosecutor warned that these drugs are highly addictive and people should be extremely careful.

“The most addictive synthetic drug is fentanyl, considered 50 times more potent than heroin. However, other substances, such as the MDPV drug created in recent years, are 800 times more addictive than fentanyl or heroin. Those who consume it experience greater euphoria than with fentanyl, for example, and it has lethal consequences”, pointed out Chavarría.

Costa Rica is combating drug gangs to eradicate violence and crime. Nonetheless, the country must also focus on developing social policies to prevent drug addiction and raise awareness of the effects and consequences they can have on users.  

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