Jun 10


Record Opium Harvest in Afghanistan

Afghanistan has just had the largest opium harvest in it’s history – which will have a significant ongoing impact on the volume of Heroin that will be hitting the streets across the globe.

Officials from the USA have increased their efforts to convince the government of Afghanistan to begin spraying herbicide on opium poppies – an action that many believe will help reduce the opium production but could affect the stability of the region by dividing the government there.

According to United Nations estimates, Afghanistan now produces an amazing 93 percent of the entire world’s opiates. Since the American-led invasion in 2001, its drug revenues have grown exponentially because more traffickers are also processing opium into heroin there.

In August 2007, a United Nations report recorded a 17 percent increase in poppy cultivation from 2006 to 2007 and a 34 percent growth in opium production. The issue is even more recognisable in the southern province of Helmand, a Taliban stronghold. Almost 4,400 metric tons of opium were produced in Helmand this year, which based on current UN statistics is almost half of Afghanistan’s overall output.

The government of Afghanistan’s opium eradication efforts have failed to keep up with this growth. Their efforts were responsible for cutting down about 47,000 acres of poppy fields this year, which although 24 percent more than last year is still less than 9 percent of the country’s overall poppy crop.

Street prices of Heroin have fallen over the last few years, making this harmful drug even easier to obtain by young people – in fact, the average starting age of Heroin use in many UK cities is just 15. Consequently, Afghanistan’s failure to adequately deal with this issue will have a global cost which will unfortunately be paid by young people who are drawn into experimentation.

This surge in Heroin production will also affect the workplace, where substance misuse already has a clear impact on accident rates, ill health, absenteeism and reduced productivity. Visit our workplace drug testing page for more information or read our home drug tests FAQ section.

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