* * *
The US is in the throes of a heroin and opioid epidemic – drug overdose has become the leading cause of accidental death, overtaking traffic accidents.
It is a health crisis with tentacles reaching across the social spectrum. Lorain County, in the state of Ohio, is mostly suburban and middle-class, with a large rural hinterland.
Its population is only 305,000 but for the last three years, the number of fatal opiate overdoses has hovered at around 65. This year it only took six months to reach that figure.
Avon Lake is the county’s wealthiest community – an upmarket suburb of the city of Cleveland. Here, on the shores of Lake Erie, the scourge of opiates – prescription pills and street heroin – is tearing at the fabric of a tightly-knit neighbourhood.
* * *
Afghanistan may have mouth-watering oil riches, but opium still rules this economy amid a lack of any real investment in getting oil and gas out of the ground.
In 2011, the United States Geological Survey released a report on Afghanistan arguing that the responsible exploitation of the country’s natural resources, including oil and natural gas, could help alleviate its economic addiction to opium sales.
At that time, opium production represented just under 50 percent of Afghanistan’s Gross Domestic Product. Since then, the nation has set new opium cultivation records.
(MINTPRESS) The “War on Drugs” and the “War on Terror” are more intertwined than that media and our elected officials would like us to think.
And this became full front and center when the U.S.-led global crusades overlapped in Afghanistan, leaving in their wake a legacy of death, addiction and government corruption tainting Afghan and American soil.
In the U.S., the War in Afghanistan is among the major contributing factors to the country’s devastating heroin epidemic.
“Opium production has increased 33 fold from 185 tons in 2001 to 6100 tons in 2006. In 2007, Afghanistan provided approximately 93% of the global supply of heroin…”
One of the many catastrophic legacies left behind by the longest war in U.S. history is that Afghanistan produces 90% of the world’s opium. As with most parts of the world, the most vulnerable pay the heaviest price of war, and the country has faced a harrowing escalation in the number of child heroin addicts.
“What’s happened in Afghanistan over the last 13 years has been the flourishing of a narco-state that is really without any parallel in history,” Kabul-based journalist Matthieu Aikins told Democracy Now back in 2014.
Afghan opium is being processed into high-grade heroin in clandestine Turkish drug labs for distribution in Europe and Russia, Russia’s anti-drug chief has revealed. The trafficking route was exposed after a joint Russian-Afghan anti-drug operation.
“The cargo traveled through Badakhshan-Doshi-Bamiyan-Herat, then further through Iran and into Turkey, where the opium was processed in well-equipped laboratories…into high quality heroin, and then was to be sent to Europe and Russia,” Ivanov said during an anti-narcotics committee meeting.
One of the biggest money-spinners for Islamic State terrorists is transporting illegal drugs from Afghanistan to Europe through Turkey and the Balkans, according to the head of Russia’s federal anti-drug agency FKSN.
“ISIS fighters are controlling certain territory,” Viktor Ivanov was quoted as saying by TASS. “Now it is targeted by the Russian Air Force, but until recently the terrorists enjoyed great freedom there. Trafficking illegal drugs was one of the major sources of their income.”
Despite billions spent to eradicate opium crops in Afghanistan, the crop is more popular than ever there, leading many to wonder whether some U.S. forces may actually be encouraging its growth and the heroin it later becomes.
In July, the Centers for Disease Control warned of record-breaking numbers of heroin deaths in the United States. “Heroin use more than doubled among young adults ages 18–25 in the past decade,” the CDC reported.
The truth is:
Amid the dire situation in Afghanistan, the main US government organisation in charge of rebuilding the country has sent out a strong message to Washington. It says America has failed in multiple ways…
– Former Blackwater Gets Rich As Afghan Drug Production Hits Record High (Guardian, March 31, 2015)
– America’s $7.6 BILLION ‘War’ On Afghan Drugs ‘Fails’, Opium Production Peaks (RT, Oct 21, 2014)
– Does Obama Want to Stay in Afghanistan to Harvest Its Opium? (Global Research):
“opium production has increased 33 fold from 185 tons in 2001 to 6100 tons in 2006. In 2007, Afghanistan provided approximately 93% of the global supply of heroin…”