Deja vu - Afghani heroin hits US markets
This is how politics and the drug war intersect. We invade Afghanistan and topple their government. When we go in, heroin production is at nearly zero. We're there for four years and heroin production is now at an all time high. Afghanistan's economy depends on the trade. And now it's being imported into the US.
Supplies of highly potent Afghan heroin in the United States are growing so fast that the pure white powder is rapidly overtaking lower-quality Mexican heroin, prompting fears of increased addiction and overdoses.Unbelievably, a DEA spokesman denied his agency's own report and said Afghan heroin was not flooding the US market. But that's not the point of this post.
"The rise of heroin from Afghanistan is our biggest rising threat in the fight against narcotics," said Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino. "We are seeing more seizures and more overdoses."
According to a Drug Enforcement Administration report obtained by The Times, Afghanistan's poppy fields have become the fastest-growing source of heroin in the United States. Its share of the U.S. market doubled from 7% in 2001, the year U.S. forces overthrew the Taliban, to 14% in 2004, the latest year studied. Another DEA report, released in October, said the 14% actually could be significantly higher.
Poppy production in Afghanistan jumped significantly after the 2001 U.S. invasion destabilized an already shaky economy, leading farmers to turn to the opium market to survive. Not only is more heroin being produced from Afghan poppies coming into the United States, it is also the purest in the world, according to the DEA's National Drug Intelligence Center.
In the 1980s we were involved in a little war in Nicaragua. We backed the insurgents that time and helped them overthrow a government we didn't like. Out of that came the Iran-Contra scandal where certain government officials were caught trading arms to Iran in order to fund the Contra insurgents' operations. They got away with it because they were pardoned by Bush the Senior.
If you're still with me here, during Iran-Contra there was an influx of cocaine into the US that Gary Webb tied to the CIA in his controversial series Dark Alliance. Gary presented compelling evidence that the CIA was importing the drug into the US themselves to help to finance that scam on the American public.
The same US officials who were involved in Iran-Contra are now running our government again and there's an influx of Afghani heroin into the US. Draw your own conclusions, but the phrase "history repeats itself" comes to mind.
[Graphic - Carolyn Cole]