Entries in Opium (2)


Afghanistan's Opium Poppy Cultivation Up, Production Down

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- There was mixed news Tuesday about Afghanistan's primary cash crop, opium poppies.

Ever since the U.S.-led invasion of the country 11 years ago, farmers have been pushed to grow more benign crops such as wheat, pomegranates or cotton instead of opium poppies that are used to fuel the worldwide heroin trade.

However, a survey by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics revealed that land under opium cultivation jumped 18 percent in 2012 to 380,000 acres.

Even so, potential opium production was down by 36 percent this year due to bad weather conditions and a poppy blight.

Overall, Afghanistan provides nine-tenths of the world's opiates, representing a $65 billion profit annually.  Of that, Afghan farmers see about $700 million.

Despite this, U.S. military forces leave opium poppy growers alone for fear that any crackdown will spur them to side with the Taliban.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


$250 Million in Drugs Destroyed in Joint US-Russia Drug Op

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images

(MOSCOW) -- Russia is heralding this first joint operation with the U.S., saying $250 million of drugs were destroyed and doing $1 billion worth of damage to the drug trade, according to Russian reports.  The director of Russia's Federal Drug Control Service, Sergei Ivanov, told reporters in Moscow that 932kg of heroin, 156kg of opium and “a significant amount”  of production equipment was destroyed.

Speaking alongside the U.S. embassy’s deputy chief of mission, Ivanov said 200 million doses would now not appear on the Central Asian market.  He said three heroin labs and one morphine lab were eliminated, 70 US, Russian and Afghan personnel as well as helicopter gunships were involved in the mission that took three months of planning.

"The operation was launched based on a tip-off about the location of drug-making laboratories. It took us three months to establish the precise whereabouts of the drug laboratories, to analyze the specifics of the terrain, as well as to obtain information about those involved, production volumes and possible routes for funding and precursor supplies," Ivanov said, according to Interfax, adding that he hopes to continue to cooperate with the U.S. on destroying labs.

Russia -- Ivanov in particular -- has long criticized the U.S. for not doing enough to stop the flow of drugs from Afghanistan.  Russia has a huge heroin problem; it says it’s the biggest consumer in the world with 2-3 million addicts and about 30,000 deaths per year.  An estimated 90 percent of Russia’s heroin comes from Afghanistan.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


ABC News Radio