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.
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.