UN Report Finds Afghan Drug Addiction is Twice Global Average

UN Report Finds Afghan Drug Addiction is Twice Global Average
# 22 June 2010 03:56 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. The United Nations says roughly eight percent of the Afghan population suffers from drug addiction -- twice the global average, APA reports quoting “The Voice of America”.

In a report released Monday, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said 1 million Afghans are addicted to narcotics, with the number of opium users increasing more than 50 percent and heroin users by 140 percent since 2005.

UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa says decades of war-related trauma, the unlimited availability of cheap narcotics, and limited access to treatment have created a "major, and growing, addiction problem in Afghanistan."

Costa said he believes many Afghans are taking drugs as a kind of "self-medication against the hardships of life." He also noted that half of adult drug users in the north and south of the country give opium to their children.

More than 90 percent of the world’s illegal opium and heroin originates in Afghanistan, and officials say drug trafficking helps fund the Taliban insurgency.

The U.N. report released Monday also reveals a major shortage of drug treatment. Only 10 percent of narcotics users are getting any form of help, according to the U.N., which estimates more than 700,000 Afghans have no access at all. Officials are calling on the international community to help provide greater resources for drug prevention and treatment in Afghanistan.
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