The Afghanistan Invasion's Effect on Opium Production
The spread of opium has not been curtailed since the United States invaded Afghanistan. In fact, the spread of opium, which is typically processed into heroin, has actually increased since the United States invaded Afghanistan.“In 2004, according to the United Nations, opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan rose by two-thirds, climbing to 320,000 acres and producing a yield of 4,200 metric tons (a metric ton equals 2,205 pounds)” (Williams, 2005, p. 58).
The main reason the opium production in Afghanistan continues to rise is the increase in demand for heroin:
By 1998 the National Household Survey discovered 149,000 new heroin users throughout the United States who required treatment for their addiction. Eighty percent of the new addicts were under the age of twenty-six. The average addict was spending from $150 to $200 a day to maintain his habit. While the heroin trade increased to new heights in the United States, it began to soar beyond belief in Europe. From 1996 to 2001, Europeans consumed more than fifteen tons of heroin a year – twice the amount sold in America – and almost all of it (over 90 percent) came from Afghanistan (Williams, 2005, p. 65).
The “war on drugs” within the United States and Western society has proven almost as ineffective as the “war on terrorism”. Most crime related to drugs is “not related to the use of drugs; it is related to the dangerous underground economy created by the war on drugs” (Geers, 1995, p. 235). This dangerous underground economy includes terrorism and Al Qaeda.
The only effective means to curtail the spread of opium, which ultimately funds terrorism, is for the United States and Western society to look inward, rather than outward. The United States and Western society generally place too much blame on the drug dealers, while forgetting drug dealers would not exist without drug users. It makes more sense to focus efforts addressing the drug use and addiction problems within the United States and Western society. Why not fix the problem at its source?
Rather than a “war on drugs” the United States and Western society must fight a “war on sobriety.” Each heroin user contributes financially to terrorism. The United States and Western society must figure out why so many people desire drugs and focus on diminishing this demand for drugs. It makes more sense to stop the demand, rather than continually trying to stop the supply. If the demand for heroin, and drugs in general, were curtailed, the supply of opium from Afghanistan would whittle away.
Geers, T. (1995). Legalize drugs and stop the ware on people. Education, 116(2), 235-249.
Williams, P. (2005). The Al Qaeda connection: International terrorism, organized crime, and the coming apocalypse. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.