Opiate Addiction Reaches Epidemic Proportions in Afghanistan

    At least 2.7 percent of Afghanistan’s adult population is addicted to heroin or opium, according to a study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Reuters Health reported June 21. 

    The world’s largest exporter of raw opium for heroin joins Iran and Russia as the world’s biggest consumers of the drug per capita. Addiction in Iran ranges from 1.5 percent to 3.2 percent of the population, while Russia averages 1.64 percent of its population. The global average is 0.3 percent. 

    Opium use has risen 53 percent since the UNODC’s last study of the country in 2004, while heroin use has skyrocketed, up 140 percent. Many children are also addicted, as the study noted a troubling phenomenon of adults intentionally getting their kids hooked on the drug. 

    The country, which grows the poppy that supplies over 90 percent of the world’s illegal opium and heroin, has only 40 rehabilitation clinics — far too few for the 700,000 Afghans who said they wanted to quit. 


    By Partnership Staff
    June 2010


    June 2010