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     Home > Culture & Society  >  2013-11-13 15:36:06
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How will Afghanistan’s boom in opium cultivation impact on global drug trade?

(Vatican Radio) A United Nations report says Afghan opium cultivation has reached a record level, with more than 200 thousand hectares of the opium poppy planted for the first time. The report, issued by the UN Office for Drugs and Crime, said Afghanistan’s opium harvest was 36% up on last year.

The nation already produces more than two thirds of the world’s supply of opium and much of that is smuggled abroad, particularly to Europe.

But what impact will this increased production of opium in Afghanistan have on the global drug market for heroin which is an opium derivative? And, will we see cheaper heroin hitting the streets? That was the question Susy Hodges put to Harry Shapiro of the UK charity Drugscope that works for drug education and prevention.

Listen to the full interview with Harry Shapiro, Director of Communications at Drugscope: RealAudioMP3

Shapiro says he believes that the worst impact of this record cultivation of opium poppies in Afghanistan will be felt domestically and in neighbouring countries where there is already a very serious and widespread problem of heroin addiction, rather than in Europe where heroin use is declining.

Asked why it is proving so difficult to eradicate the cultivation of the opium poppy in Afghanistan, Shaprio cites poverty, corruption and lack of intrastructure as among the main reasons.


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