The Heroin Trail

To the producers of Newsround, I have attached my research essay on the Heroin trail on the page below. As you may or may not be aware 90% of the world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan, also one of the worlds most corrupt and less economically developed countries in the world.

The heroin trail starts in Afghanistan where a struggling farmer grows his opium poppies on the bit of land he has, his country is in turmoil, he’s largely disconnected from the rest of the population, and he has few options to earn a living. There’s no irrigation infrastructure, and poppies are the only plants tough enough to withstand the environmental conditions but also the only plant that will earn him eight times as much money as any other crop.

The gum which is extracted from the opium poppies is then transformed into heroin which is bough by a “Khan” or in other words the lord of drug trade, he will then buy it and send it off for exportation either by animal, truck or boat through mountainous or oceanic regions over to the Iranian border where the process continues until it reaches Turkey, one of Europe’s main tourist and holiday destinations, with Turkey being so large and busy, it is the perfect location to ship it across European countries and into the UK where eventually it is being sold on the streets of Britain to addicts who are more than likely to have a record of crime and theft.

The sheer size and illegal nature of the opium economy means that it permeates and seriously affects Afghanistan’s economy, state, society, and politics. The opium economy is a massive source of corruption and gravely demoralizes the reliability of the government and its local representatives. Because of the country’s civil war and low GDP, it has made it increasingly difficult for the poorest in the country to provide for their families as the country’s government are having to find ways in which they can overcome the national conflict as well as economical deficit, so while they are also growing illegally as well as inhaling the harmful scent of the drug, they also have to keep their poppies under good maintenance so they will meet the drug barons preference and earn money for it.

The global effects of the heroin trail means that border controls throughout southern Asia and Europe are under tight surveillance, especially along the mountainous border of Iran where on a daily basis drugs are being smuggled into the country’s margin. This puts pressure on the Iranian police who are forced to eliminate the numbers of drug smugglers there are entering the country. A local research report recently issued that at least several hundreds maybe more smugglers enter the country on a weekly-monthly basis without being caught by border officials on patrol in the most common routes around the mountains. It is very often that border officials and Afghan smugglers will be caught in a war of weapons where they will open fire until death; many cases such as this have resulted into members of the Iranian military in casualty or even dead.

Because of this, the Iranian government have made plans to try ands tackle the problems mainly because of the difficult location of the country which is freely allowing citizens of Afghanistan to use the country as a primary location for smuggling and exportation and now studies show that the price of drugs has increased 30 percent in Iran following the Iranian border police tight control over the country’s borders, Press TV reported. “The price of drugs has increased 30 percent in Iran after we toughened our border activities to prevent drug smuggling into the country,” local police commander Hossein Zolfaghari said in an interview with Fars news agency. The Iranian commander further pointed out that border police activities over drug smuggling will even be toughened next year. ” Police are also trying to arrest drug smugglers to reduce the harm inside the country,” he added. Iran lies on a transit corridor between opium-producing Afghanistan and drug dealers in Europe.

To counter drug trafficking, the Iranian government has deployed thousands of security staff along its eastern borders and has built over 1,000 kilometres of embankments, canals, trenches, and cement walls, although this would be keeping the majority of dealers out of the zone it would still not stop ALL of them from using other methods such as shipping, where the most common way of sending off the drugs would be by clipping a barrel onto a boat and towing it across the sea, eventually it would arrive just like any other ordinary form of cargo making it hard to find because of the clever disguising. The worst and most important effect it is having in the UK is that the armed weapons the Taliban are buying are paid for with the lives of young British people paying for drugs on the British streets; this is something which we all seek to destroy. But, because one of the main problems with Afghanistan’s drug problem is due to the fact that they have absolutely ideal growing conditions through the year, the amount they roduce is too high to eradicate and it is very hard to totally monitor and wipe out the amounts of opium grown in the country even through the most obvious methods such as watering grants to wear off the farmers’ opium growing (would be the least of the UK’s troubles), especially as it has become a war zone , also because the amounts of migrants (who are forced to leave the country due to the threat the country is under) are high it makes it more of an endeavour to control all who pass through the borders. The fact is that persuading people to stop growing poppies needs a combination of increasing the risk and the consequences to them of getting caught, and at the same time helping to provide them with alternative ways of making a living. Poppy eradication is carried out by the government, but it is dangerous, labour intensive work, and what is cleared is a fraction of the total crop.

For the UK, drug abuse is becoming a difficult issue to tackle because of the amount of addicts on the streets and crime rates due to abuse, increasingly rehabilitation groups and organizations are becoming fuller and for some addicts who are trying to come clean with drugs, usually go back to their old habits because of the need and temptations there are on the streets of our country today. But, what if there wasn’t a drive into temptation by this I mean locating all drug dealing spots and trying to eradicate dealers who not only are making a living illegally but are also persuading men, women, addicts even teens to buy into the drugs, through this method more police would therefore have to patrol certain crime areas making it difficult for dealing to take place, though logistic it may be it is also costing the government increasingly large amounts of money to fund fro police activities and set up groups and campaigning organizations to eliminate the process.

Recently, Scotland Yard issued a statement saying “due to the amount of illegal drug smugglers entering our country on a daily basis it is becoming more of a work load for our police force to tackle the crime when it is at such a high rate, but we mustn’t forget that because of the exportation from Afghanistan and the large landmark distances it is harder for us to trace the primary locations for all growing and baron dealing, this is why we have to overcome that by using different methods to try and beat the crime rates on our streets today”. Heroin is a drug which is derived from an opiate and this is why it is so addictive. It effectively mimics the action of the chemicals in the brain which are mood enhancing and natural pain killers), addicts and new addicts now are using heroin as a route of crime, this sees worrying results into petty crime, theft and even armed robbery, the main source and reason why Britain, London in particular sees crime on streets are due to a history of drug abuse, this could even link to sexual abuse, mugging or even murder, and the best places for this are abandoned dim lit alley’s or streets, these are our main problems and the global problems across the world, well because job opportunities in Afghanistan are very low, either soldiers or members of terrorist and freedom fighting groups, it is very difficult for people to escape from those routes and not get caught up in the war between Britain, America and Afghanistan therefore escaping the capital and cities which are heavily affected by war is the only option, this is why many people result into growing illegal plants or getting tied up into drug trading, it is very difficult for the UK and even America who have tried to support the poorest of the country living in poverty by providing them with job opportunities and a decent standard of living when the basic necessities of life have been taken away from them.

Due to the low GDP previously mentioned, both in Afghanistan and Iran governments would not be able to provide for everyone because of the immense population and conditions, whereas with stronger tighter governments such as the Britannic government, it is far easier to work out solutions, i. e. providing those poorest with some sort of substantial support or temporary accommodation, so for a country with corrupt government and threat of war, they are doing their best to try and help. “By 1998 the National Household Survey discovered 149,000 new heroin users throughout the UK who required treatment for their addiction. Eighty percent of the new addicts were under the age of twenty-six. The average addict was spending from ? 50 to ? 200 a day to maintain his habit. While the heroin trade increased to new heights in the UK, it began to soar beyond belief in Europe. From 1996 to 2001, Europeans consumed more than fifteen tons of heroin a year – twice the amount sold in UK – and almost all of it (over 90 percent) came from Afghanistan. ” ———————– “The route of heroin from Southern Asia to Europe” Poppy farmers This graph shows the estimated number of smugglers entering Europe and Britain over the years, as you can see 2007 saw the highest number of smugglers; this is because it was only recently that officials began to use forms to tackle the problem.