Afghanistan produces 93 percent of global opiates — INCB
Tehran, March 5, IRNA
Afghanistan’s illicit opium poppy cultivation has increased 17 percent in 2007 and the country now accounts for 93 percent of the global illicit market for opiates, practically all the heroin in Europe comes from Afghanistan, according to International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) Annual Report, released in Vienna, Austria.
The Board warns of the availability of acetic anhydride, one of the main chemicals used in heroin manufacture, inside Afghanistan.
Although Afghanistan has no legitimate need for the substance, acetic anhydride finds its way into the heroin-manufacturing areas of Afghanistan. INCB calls on concerned governments to join forces to stop the trafficking of acetic anhydride into Afghanistan, said a press release issued by the United Nations Information Center here on Wednesday.
The report notes the continuing spread of opium poppy cultivation and an increase in the land surface dedicated to cannabis cultivation from 50,000 hectares in 2006 to 70,000 hectares in 2007.
INCB reiterates its call to the Government of Afghanistan to address the ever-increasing drug problem in its country. The report reminds that, under Article 14 of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, invoked only in exceptional cases of severe and persistent treaty violations, the INCB can recommend an embargo against a country to the UN Economic and Social Council.
The disproportionate application of drug laws between different countries and regions is the focus of chapter one of the INCB Annual Report.
In its Annual Report, the Board notes that instead of making a concerted effort at targeting major drug trafficking activities and their perpetrators, some countries focus an inordinate amount of attention on targeting low-level offenders and drug users. Also, offenses of a similar nature are met with severe penalties in some countries — but treated with leniency in others.
The Board also notes that when celebrities use illicit drugs, media reports often reflect or generate perceptions that the system treats celebrities, by virtue of their celebrity status, less strict than others.
“Disproportionate application of laws could undermine efforts to effectively implement the very conventions that these laws seek to enforce,” said INCB President Dr. Philip O. Emafo.
The Board also urges member states to widen the availability and access to drug treatment and rehabilitation programs in custodial settings and include non-custodial remedies such as mandatory treatment as an alternative to imprisonment.