Barack Obama ended
opium eradication efforts in Afghanistan in 2009, effectively green lighting Afghan opium and the heroin trade. U.S. policy has allowed Afghan opium and heroin since. And heroin deaths here tripled from 3,036 in 2010 to 10,574 in 2014; so has heroin use, from 1,500,000 in 2010 to 4,500,000 heroin users in 2014.
The Bush administration had an Afghan opium eradication program, ran by DynCorp. Obama didn’t renew DynCorp’s contracts, ending all efforts to eradicate opium.
Vanda Felbab-Brown penned “No Easy Exit: Drugs and Counternarcotics Strategies in Afghanistan.” No way out for Uncle Sam is more like it. The report’s notable for what it omits, which is any mention of the heroin epidemic, the deadliest illicit drug epidemic in history.
Felbab-Brown might as well’ve said “let them eat cake” to tens of thousands of Americans killed by heroin since 2009, millions hooked on heroin and tens of millions living in terror because of loved ones addicted to this deadly poison.
U.S. policy changed to permit opium growing and the heroin trade in 2009, to minimize US troop casualties in Afghanistan.
There were 7,600 hectares
of Afghan poppies when the Afghanistan War began (2001). By 2014, Afghan poppy fields spread to 224,000 hectares making a bumper crop of 6,400 tons of opium, enough to produce 640 tons of heroin. Opium production will increase without eradication efforts.
Total worldwide opium production was 7,554 tons (2014), 85 percent of it from Afghanistan.
The United States is the No. 1 nation for heroin use. Most heroin in the U.S. comes from Afghanistan, there’s no other mathematical possibility.
Crime’s been shooting up in many places like Baltimore, ground zero for the heroin epidemic.
In Afghanistan, heroin’s as readily available as Coca-Cola — and a wide swath Afghans are addicted to narcotics.
Obama’s also pushing decriminalization and treatment. Treatment is a few fingers in a dyke that’s sprung millions of leaks. With opium not being eradicated, the heroin epidemic will get worse.
Heroin, kills many more more of its users than cocaine.
In mid-2000, the Taliban regime outlawed opium; within a year it was all but gone, from 91,000 hectares (1999) to 7,600 hectares (2001). Since the Taliban effectively eradicated opium within a year, then why hasn’t Obama and the latest US-supported Afghan regime done the same?
Besides prioritizing eradication first, additional solutions exist. Outlaw chemicals needed to make heroin. Search government planes. Buy opium for medical morphine.
Congressional hearings should determine crucial aspects of this epidemic:
- How Afghan opium surged from 7,600 to 224,000 hectares
- Why annual heroin deaths have surged from 1,779 to 10,574
- How Obama's policies affected the Afghan opium and heroin trade
All attention is focused on the military campaign in Afghanistan, when an insidious drug campaign is permitted to flourish. Should America only count the loss of soldiers when deaths here at home can also be attributed to Afghanistan drug importation?
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