In what could put India in an embarrassing situation, the Central Bureau of Narcotics (CBN) — the country's apex body that supervises licenced opium poppy cultivation — has revealed that the country's illicit production of opium poppy is more than its licenced production.
In its report for 2007, the enforcement and licencing agency has said that in the last year alone, it had destroyed illicit opium poppy crop over 7,753 hectares while the actual area for which the government had awarded licences was less than 6,300 hectares.
The CBN disclosure may cause further damage to the country's already dwindling reputation on the management of drug-related issues and its failure to curb trafficking despite the fact that it had been put in the "Major List" of countries identified as main drug transit or illicit drug producing sources.
The UN's annual drug report, released by the International Narcotics Control Board on Wednesday, had cautioned authorities that the country was increasingly being used as a major transit nation and a destination source for drug trafficking.
The UN study had found that cocaine was trafficked into India where it was exchanged for Afghanistan variety of fine quality heroin bound for Europe or North America, trafficked by West African syndicates.
Opium production surge ends 'heroin drought'
A joint investigation by PM and the Lateline program on ABC TV, has been given evidence that the purity of heroin is rising and prices are dropping.
The so-called heroin drought of the early part of the decade, when it seemed as if amphetamine-based drugs had taken over, has ended.
One reason is booming opium production in Afghanistan and the emergence of so-called 'Afghan Brown' heroin on Australian streets.
Afghanistan's narcotics trade is back with a vengeance. Washington's latest antidrug plan is unlikely to curb it.
Back in 2003, U.S. officials worried about the drug economy in Afghanistan, where 80,000 hectares (200,000 acres) were being used to grow poppies to supply three-quarters of the world's opium, the main ingredient in heroin and a major source of funding for the country's divisive provincial politicians.
Those were the days. With Afghanistan now growing nearly 200,000 hectares of poppies and supplying a full 93 percent of the world's opium, U.S. officials are stepping up counternarcotics efforts in the restive southern provinces of Afghanistan, a move that triggered a bloody six-hour gunfight last week. The clash, the first in this year's aggressive new campaign to eradicate poppy fields, killed 25 Taliban militants fighting to protect the crops and one policeman fighting to raze them.
U.S. officials say more extensive but targeted eradication is needed to rein in the billions of narcodollars floating around Afghanistan, which they say funds and arms the escalating insurgency. In its annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, released on Friday, the State Department insisted that profits from drug production in southern Afghanistan were lining the pockets of warlords supporting the resurgent Taliban, pointing to the contrast between relatively poppy-free northern provinces and the growing production in the volatile south. Poppy eradication, they say, is a necessary evil in the fight to secure the dangerous and strategically critical southern provinces.
Drug business is dizzying
Re: March 1 World Digest item “2007 opium production sets record.”
I recently wrote a letter to the editor about legalizing drugs, and I received a lot of heated e-mails in response.
My opinion was that drugs should not be legalized. Now I have to ask myself, “Why not go ahead and make it legal and reap the benefits?”
Afghan farmers grew 93 percent of the world's opium, and the profits supply the Taliban with money and weapons.
It just blows me away that our government will send our military to protect Afghanistan, while at the same time Afghan farmers grow opium that is sold in the United States. The money makes it back to our enemy so we can continue to fight it.
This running around in a circle is making me dizzy.