Number of drug users doubles in Afghanistan

KABUL: The number of drug users in Afghanistan soared to a record high of three million last year, almost doubling over a two year period in the world`s leading producer of opium, officials said on Tuesday.

Opium poppy cultivation touched a record high in 2014 and this year is expected to yield another bumper harvest, highlighting the failure of the multibillion-dollar US-led campaign to crack down on the lucrative crop.

Addiction levels have also risen sharply from almost nothing under the 1996-2001 Taliban regime giving rise to a new generation of addicts since the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

`In 2005, the number of drug users was 900,000, it went up to... 1.6 million in 2012. In 2014, the number increased to three million, which is very worrying, Afghan Health Minister Ferozuddin Feroz told reporters, citing a survey conducted jointly with the US State Department.-AFP

Published in Dawn