Coming soon to a street corner near you: more heroin

One of the more counterintuitive conclusions of Ethan Nadelmann’s FP cover story on drugs is that “maybe the world is better off, all things considered, with 90 percent of [the world’s supply of opium] coming from just one country.” So, perhaps this news should reassure us: The U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released ...

599750_070827_unodc_05.jpg
599750_070827_unodc_05.jpg

One of the more counterintuitive conclusions of Ethan Nadelmann's FP cover story on drugs is that "maybe the world is better off, all things considered, with 90 percent of [the world's supply of opium] coming from just one country."

So, perhaps this news should reassure us: The U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released its annual report today and—you guessed it—Afghanistan is set to break new records for opium-poppy production in 2007. By the end of this year, Helmand province alone will "single-handedly become the world's largest source of illicit drugs," according to the UNODC.

But what happens in Helmand, unfortunately, doesn't stay in Helmand. Perversely, the ongoing development of the region's backwards transportation infrastructure will ensure that Afghanistan's opium spreads far and wide. Consider the new bridge between Afghanistan and Tajikistan:

One of the more counterintuitive conclusions of Ethan Nadelmann’s FP cover story on drugs is that “maybe the world is better off, all things considered, with 90 percent of [the world’s supply of opium] coming from just one country.”

So, perhaps this news should reassure us: The U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released its annual report today and—you guessed it—Afghanistan is set to break new records for opium-poppy production in 2007. By the end of this year, Helmand province alone will “single-handedly become the world’s largest source of illicit drugs,” according to the UNODC.

But what happens in Helmand, unfortunately, doesn’t stay in Helmand. Perversely, the ongoing development of the region’s backwards transportation infrastructure will ensure that Afghanistan’s opium spreads far and wide. Consider the new bridge between Afghanistan and Tajikistan:

The Tajik head of state, Emomali Rahmon […] expressed concern that Tajik and Afghan authorities need to prevent the bridge from facilitating “all kinds of inadmissible activities, such as human, drug, and weapons trafficking.”

Good luck with that.

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