Afghan heroin claims over 1 mln lives since NATO operation began in 2001 – Russian drug control chief

Map of Afghanistan and Environs

(Interfax – MOSCOW. April 3, 2013) Over one million people have died from Afghan heroin in the world since 2001 and the NATO operation against drug production in Afghanistan is ineffective, Russian Federal Drug Control Service Chief Viktor Ivanov said.

“Since the 2000s, since the beginning of the Enduring Freedom operation in 2001, over one million people have died from Afghan heroin in the world, moreover, over one trillion U.S. dollars is invested in the international organized crime of selling heroin,” Ivanov said at a news conference in Moscow on Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, any unbiased observer is forced to conclude the sad fact that the international community failed to changed the drug production situation for the better after the colossal increase of heroin production in Afghanistan, over 40 times, amid the Enduring Freedom operation in 2001,” Ivanov said.

Ivanov said that just in the past year, the areas with opium poppy increased by 18% from 131,000 hectares to 154,000.

“The analysis shows that the withdrawal of the most part of foreign forces from Afghanistan and laying down the responsibility of the international community for the security in Afghanistan alone cannot change the catastrophic situation with drug production,” Ivanov said.

“The discourse that the withdrawal of most NATO forces will stimulate the increase of drug production volumes in Afghanistan doesn’t take into account the fundamental fact that the existing production volumes of the drug infrastructure are already outrageous, virtually destructing Eurasia politically and biologically,” the Russian drug control chief said.

Ivanov has said that up to 100,000 people died annually in Russia due to drug use.

The drug control chief said in June 2012 that the recent studies of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service showed that 8.5 million Russians use drugs regularly or occasionally and 18.5 million have tried drugs at least once.