The revelation that the number of opium-addicted Afghan adults and children has reached new highs is a dramatic consequence of the war in that country. It painfully illustrates how the aggression led by the United States can doom generations of children to a miserable life. A U.S. funded study released in April of 2015, found that one in every nine Afghans -including women and children- uses illegal drugs.
Over the last few years, donors have disbursed hundreds of millions of dollars to control Afghanistan’s drug problem. However, most of those funds have been spent on poppy eradication and much less attention has been paid to the rising addiction problem. The U.S. has spent over $7 billion in taxpayer funds to tackle this issue with no positive results.
Although the U.S. government has paid high sums of money to the poppy farmers to switch to legitimate crops such as wheat, poppy cultivation has proven to be too lucrative to stop. In 2014, opium cultivation reached record levels: more than 553,000 acres, an increase of seven percent from the year before, according to estimates of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC).
The export value of opium trade is about $4 billion. A quarter of that amount is being earned by opium farmers and the rest is going to district officials, drug traffickers, insurgents, warlords and, according to this agency. 380 tons of heroin and morphine are produced annually, which is approximately 85% of the global supply.
The number of drug users in the country has increased from 920,000 in 2005 to over 1.6 million in recent years, according to reports from the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. Zalmai Afzali, the spokesman for the Ministry of Counter-Narcotics (MCN) in Afghanistan estimates that quarter of those users are women and children. Afzali also said that, if current trends continue, Afghanistan could become the world’s top drug-using nation per capita. counterpunch.org