UN Points to Afghanistan as Massive Meth Producer

Despite the Taliban’s prohibition of drugs after regaining control in Afghanistan in 2021, the country of the poppy is quickly emerging as a new center for the manufacture of the synthetic drug. The United Nations claims that after opium manufacturing was outlawed in the country, drug smugglers and impoverished farmers were left searching for other money streams.

Producers having easy access to meth precursor chemicals that are regulated in much of the rest of the world have reportedly filled the void left by heroin seizures. Furthermore, subsistence farmers who relied on poppy farming for livelihood have found it simple to switch to ephedra plant production.

The ephedra plant is the source of pseudoephedrine, the most widely used precursor in the meth production process. To fight the growing methamphetamine epidemic, former president George W. Bush signed the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 in 2006. His signature outlawed the sale of pseudoephedrine-containing over-the-counter medications, driving meth traffickers to operate from foreign countries.

The United Nations agency in charge of tracking the international drug traffic has reported that methamphetamine produced in Afghanistan is making its way to the continents of Europe and Africa. The organization claims that between 2019 and 2021, seizures of the stimulant within Afghanistan increased by more than 2,600%. In 2019, about 220 pounds were found, whereas just two years later, in 2021, 6,000 pounds were interdicted.

Meth is currently being exported from Myanmar and Mexico, yet none of these countries is a natural habitat for the ephedra plant. Both countries need reliable access to controlled precursors.

Since coming to power, the Taliban have destroyed 644 narcotics labs, according to a Taliban official, despite an increase in meth trafficking out of Afghanistan. More than 6,000 persons involved in the illegal crop trade have been arrested, and reports indicate that the Islamists have destroyed 12,000 acres of unlawful crops. Within four years, the illegal drug trade in his country will be completely destroyed, according to the same spokesperson.




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