The U.N. secretary-general says an estimated $1.2 billion worth of cocaine transits through West Africa each year, and the Security Council is expressing "deep concern" about the drug trade's increasing links to terrorist groups.

The council issued a presidential statement Wednesday after Ban Ki-moon briefed it on the widespread risks to stability in a region where borders are porous, governments are poorly funded and extremists groups are active.

West Africa's recent rise as a route for cocaine and other drugs from Latin America to Europe has startled the international community.

Diplomats now point out that the region is producing its own drugs, including methamphetamine.

Ban says the region now has "more than a million users of illicit drugs," which hurts development in the vast region.