Afghanistan resembles a chemistry class gone awry.
According to a recent report by the United Nations drug agency, Afghanistan has taken an unexpected leap to claim the title of the world's fastest-growing methamphetamine producer.
But that's not all - it's not just a one-drug wonderland; it's also a major hub for opium and heroin, despite the Taliban's promise to wage war on narcotics.
It could disrupt the synthetic drug market and lead to increased addiction. There have even been reports of meth seizures suspected to have originated in Afghanistan in distant places like the European Union and East Africa.
Even though the Taliban declared a war on narcotics, it appears that Afghanistan is still competing for the title of the world's fastest-growing meth producer.
Do you know how Methamphetamine is made?— UNODC Afghanistan (@UNODC_COAFG) September 10, 2023
Meth can be produced using readily available chemicals that are legally available in markets. This poses a serious challenge to regulating the drug.
More in UNODC’s latest report: https://t.co/jncAB0MXgt pic.twitter.com/CRsjCMgPwC
More than 5,000 raids have resulted in the arrest of 6,000 individuals.
A UN report from November revealed a 32% increase in opium cultivation since the Taliban's takeover, with opium prices rising after a ban on cultivation was announced in April 2022.
Farmers' income from opium sales tripled from $425 million (352 crores INR) in 2021 to $1.4 billion (1400 crore INR) in 2022.
The report also noted that Afghanistan's illicit drug market expanded due to economic challenges and the contraction of the country's economy.
The combination of drought, economic hardship, war, and natural disasters has pushed many into poverty, hunger, and addiction.
An anonymous Afghan health official mentioned that approximately 20,000 people, mostly addicted to crystal meth, are in hospitals for drug-related issues.
This includes 350 women, and children are also receiving treatment, though the exact number and their ages were not specified.
So, as Afghanistan navigates this rocky road, it's evident that they face a significant chemical conundrum.