Nov 23


Related information:

US Marine Commander: Afghan surge troops won’t target drug crops:

The 4,100 metric tons produced in Helmand are still about 60 percent of Afghanistan’s crop, which accounts for more than 90 percent of all global heroin trade.

Afghanistan opium production reaches 6,900 tons:

Opium production rate has soared to 6,900 tons in Afghanistan in the past 10 years ‘despite‘ the presence of 100,000 foreign troops in the country for nearly eight years.

A report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said on Wednesday that Afghanistan produces 92 percent of the world’s opium that has devastating global consequences.

The UN report also noted that Afghanistan’s illegal opium production is worth 65 billion dollars.

The heroin and opium market feeds 15 million addicts, with Europe, Russia and Iran consuming half the supply, UNODC reported.

• Afghan poppy harvest blighted by fungus

• Dealers adulterating supply to maintain profits

Users are overdosing on adulterated heroin or, in some cases, a combination of powerful sedative, caffeine and paracetamol. Photograph: PA

Hospitals are treating a growing number of drug users who have overdosed on heroin mixed with other substances by dealers because of a huge shortage of the opiate across the UK.

One of the most severe heroin ‘droughts’ for five years has been reported in areas across the UK, including, London, Lancashire, Surrey, and Stockton-on-Tees.

The shortage has been linked not to seizures of the drug by law enforcement agencies but to a fungus that has blighted this year’s poppy crop in Afghanistan, reducing it by half.

Users are overdosing on either adulterated heroin, or, in some cases, what has been found to be a combination of a powerful sedative, caffeine and paracetamol. Some have become unconscious very soon after injecting or smoking it, while others have reported vomiting, flu-like symptoms and amnesia, drug agencies say.

One of the most recent reports of overdoses and hospital admissions came last week from Hastings, where four users overdosed even though they had only taken a small amount of what they thought was heroin. Toxicologist Dr John Ramsey, head of the Tictac Communications drugs database at St George’s medical school, London, said he had had about 50 recent requests to analyse adulterated heroin.

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May 07

The Marines of Bravo Company’s 1st Platoon sleep beside a grove of poppies. Troops in the 2nd Platoon playfully swat at the heavy opium bulbs while walking through the fields. Afghan laborers scraping the plant’s gooey resin smile and wave.

Last week, the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit moved into southern Helmand province, the world’s largest opium poppy-growing region, and now find themselves surrounded by green fields of the illegal plants that produce the main ingredient of heroin.

The Taliban, whose fighters are exchanging daily fire with the Marines in Garmser, derives up to $100 million a year from the poppy harvest by taxing farmers and charging safe passage fees — money that will buy weapons for use against U.S., NATO and Afghan troops.

Yet the Marines are not destroying the plants. In fact, they are reassuring villagers the poppies won’t be touched. American commanders say the Marines would only alienate people and drive them to take up arms if they eliminated the impoverished Afghans’ only source of income.

Many Marines in the field are scratching their heads over the situation. Continue reading »

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Apr 14

KABUL, April 14 (Reuters) – Impoverished Afghans struggling with rising wheat prices are not expected to get any relief soon with no sign prices are going to come down, a United Nations official said on Monday.

Top finance and development officials from around the world called in Washington on Sunday for urgent action to stem rising food prices, warning that social unrest will spread unless the cost of basic staples is contained.

Afghanistan is one of the world’s poorest countries with half its 25 million people living below the poverty line.

Wheat prices in Afghanistan have risen by an average of 60 percent over the last year with certain areas seeing a rise of up to 80 percent, the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) said. Continue reading »

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