Area under control of insurgent groups and area under opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, 2016. Graphic: UNODC

22 June 2017 (UNODC) – Opium production on the increase In 2016, global opium production increased by one third compared with the previous year. Although there was also an increase in the size of the area under opium poppy cultivation, the major increase in opium production was primarily the result of an improvement in opium poppy yields in Afghanistan compared with the previous year. At 6,380 tons, however, total global opium production was still some 20 per cent lower than at its peak in 2014, and was close to the average reported in the past five years.

Seizures of both opium and heroin have remained quite stable at the global level in recent years, suggesting
a smooth supply of heroin, irrespective of annual changes in opium production. The quantity of heroin seized in North America increased sharply in 2015. This went in parallel with reports of increasing heroin use and heroin-related deaths in that subregion. […]

The Taliban’s involvement in the drug trade is well documented. It has taxed entities involved in illicit opiate production, manufacture and trafficking in Afghanistan. Further, the Consolidated United Nations Security Council Sanctions List contains a number of Taliban leaders who are accused of direct involvement in drug trafficking.

UNODC estimated that non-State armed groups raised about $150 million in 2016 from the Afghan illicit opiate trade in the form of taxes on the cultivation of opium poppy and trafficking in opiates. The overall drug-related income, however, may be higher still. The Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1988 (2011) estimated the overall annual income of the Taliban at about $400 million, half of which is likely to be derived from the illicit narcotics economy. [more]

World Drug Report 2017

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