News / Europe

Russia Urges Global Struggle Against Afghan Heroin

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev says the international community must accept responsibility for the fight against illicit drugs from Afghanistan. He told an anti-drug conference in Moscow that worldwide Afghan heroine has killed nearly one-million people under the age of 35 in the past eight years.

Speaking at an international anti-drug forum in Moscow, President Medvedev issued a call for a common global fight against narcotics, saying the entire world is threatened by drug-producing countries, especially those that make hard drugs - narcotics that are more addictive and damaging.

He said Afghanistan does not have the resources for a breakthrough in the fight. He said ongoing efforts by various international organizations, including the United Nations, NATO and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, are not enough.

Mr. Medvedev says those well-regarded organizations have not yet brought about the desired result. He adds that responsibility for a single Afghan drug policy should be assumed by the global community.

Mr. Medvedev said standing up to the evil of narcotics on a global scale requires a struggle not only against drug trafficking, but also the social problems created by that evil.

The Kremlin leader says those problems obviously include poverty, inequality, and corruption. He adds wherever poor economic development combines with weak government institutions, a phenomenon emerges that many experts refer to as a narco-state.

Mr. Medvedev told the forum that nearly one-million people under the age of 35 have died around the world in the past eight years from Afghan heroin. Russia's federal drug control agency says the country loses about 30,000 people to heroine abuse each year.

The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime says heroine is the world's deadliest drug. The U.N. agency says the narcotic has created a market worth $65-billion and caters to 15 million addicts. The organization notes heroine use is behind the unprecedented spread of HIV, and also funds criminal groups, insurgents and terrorists.

The United Nations says Afghanistan cultivates 92 percent of the world's opium poppies, the raw material for heroin, and exports about 375 tons of the drug each year.

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