Kabul, Afghanistan – Afghanistan’s poppy fields are thriving, with cultivation of the crop hitting record highs last year. Poppy produces opium, the main ingredient in heroin. Already, the country supplies 90 percent of the world’s heroin, leading to tens of thousands of deaths every year.
Not only is Afghanistan the global leader in opium production, but Afghans are now the leading consumers of their own drugs. The number of Afghan drug addicts now stands at nearly three million, up from less than 500,000 just two years ago. One Afghan health official describes the drug scourge as a “tsunami for our country”.
With NATO troops pulling out and local law enforcement agencies ill-equipped and underfunded, production looks set to increase even further. And with the Taliban and al–Qaeda funded by the drug trade, fears are rising that further instability could wreak more havoc on this war-torn nation.
In Afghanistan’s Billion Dollar Drug War, 101 East ventures deep into Taliban territory to meet up with a high-level smuggler who reveals his covert operation. They also go on patrol with a ragtag police unit charged with destroying the poppy fields that feed the habits of drug addicts worldwide.