According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), last year Russia was number one country in terms of heroin consumption.
The UNODC estimated that each year 75 to 80 tons of heroin, the most dangerous drug, is consumed in Russia. This is twice as much as in China with its billion-strong population and 3.5 times more than in the US and Canada combined. According to the state anti-drug committee 220 Russians become drug addicts every day. Now there are approximately 2.5 million drug addicts in Russia, most of them consuming opiates, i.e. heroin.
Every year over 30 thousand of them die. Unfortunately, only 1 out of 10 people can quit. The rest will be dying, and dying soon. Life expectancy of heroin addicts in Russia is 28 years.
Afghanistan is the absolute leader in drug production. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report says that 900 tons of opium and 375 tons of heroin is exported from the country each year. Every 10th person in the country is involved in cultivation of opium poppies. The revenue from heroin traffic to Russia is estimated at over 17 billion dollars. 15 trillion of them go to bank accounts of transnational criminal groups and terrorist organizations.
Eliminating opium production in Afghanistan is feasible
Experts believe that robust heroin production in Afghanistan started in 2001, when coalition forces were brought to the country. Since then the production has increased by 40 times. It may seem that struggle with drug trafficking is not a priority for the US and NATO. The money allocated for these purposes is spent for anything but elimination of illegal crop through air spraying (the method worked very well in Columbia). Interestingly enough, Antonio Maria Costa, UNODC Executive Director virtually supported the abandonment of crops elimination program. He suggested creating conditions that would lower opium prices, which would make peasants stop growing it over other agricultural cultures. The Russian anti-drug committee thinks that it could only happen if the world would be flooded with heroin. Many experts suspect that American military receive profits from drug trafficking. Today opium reserves in Afghan secret places are estimated at 12 thousand tons.
“Every year approximately 100 people in the world die from heroin,” said Victor Ivanov, the head of the state anti-drug committee. “Heroin dominates the drug market and 90% of all drug doses are made out of it. It is vital to identify the issue and form a wide coalition so we could implement the key measures in drug production elimination together.”
The situation could probably be changed by representatives of key anti-drug departments that will be gathering in Moscow on June 9-10 for the international forum Drug Production in Afghanistan: A Challenge for the International Community. There is hope that the interested parties will be able to remind the US and NATO leaders that they are responsible for the situation. Heroin epidemic that swept over Russia and is threatening Europe may become a real global catastrophe.
Heroin consumption in the world is 345 tons.
Russia - 75
Europe* - 88
China - 45
The US - 26
Africa - 25
Pakistan - 19
India - 17
Iran - 14
Afghanistan - 2
Turkey - 0,8
* Excluding Russia and Turkey
Expert estimate the volume of world opium market at $65 billion
Europe - 20 (26%)
Russia - 13 (20%)
US and Canada - 8 (13%)
China - 8 (13%)
Africa - 3 (6%)
South and South East Asia - 3 (5%)
India - 3 (5%)
Iran - 2 (3%)
Others - 5 (9%)
Arguments and Facts
In a weary world of endless US military interventions, sanctions, trade tariffs and chaos, let’s pause and take stock of the shining house on the hill