A soldier from the U.S. Army walks through a poppy field during an operation in the Arghandab River Valley in Kandahar Province. Source: Reuters
Heroin trafficking from Afghanistan has increased the consumption of opiate drugs in East European countries to levels higher than the world average, said the International Narcotic Control Board (INCB), a specialized anti-drug agency within the United Nations system.
"The levels of opiate abuse in Eastern Europe, supported by the supply of heroin from Afghanistan, are significantly higher than the global average," the INCB said in a report for 2014 posted on its website on Tuesday.
"Eastern and South-Eastern Europe have a significantly higher prevalence of injecting drug abuse, as well as of HIV among people who inject drugs, than the global average," the report said.
"Within those sub-regions, relatively high rates of injecting drug abuse were observed among the populations of Belarus, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation and Ukraine," it said.
"An increase in the proportion of admissions for treatment that were for cannabis abuse (from 8 percent to 15 percent) could be observed in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe between 2003 and 2012," it said.
"Most countries in Western and Central Europe have reported a decline in the prevalence of heroin abuse and in the number of people commencing treatment for heroin abuse for the first time, accompanied by an overall decrease in the quantity of heroin seized," the report said.
"However, there are concerns that heroin is being partly replaced as a substance of abuse by synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, buprenorphine and methadone," it said.
Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is expected to rise in those areas where foreign troops have been withdrawn, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Afghanistan reported.
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