January 12, 2006 -- The head of Tajikistan's drug control agency has warned that he expects drug smuggling in Central Asia to surge in 2007.
Rustam Nasarov said that 2006's record opium harvest in Afghanistan would lead to an increase in opiates being smuggled through Central Asia and into Europe, Russia, and North America.
Afghanistan is the source of 90 percent of the world's opiates.
Opium In Afghanistan
An antidrug billboard in Kabul shows a skeleton hanging from an opium bulb (AFP)
OPIUM FARMING ON THE RISE Despite a nationwide program by the Afghan government to eradicate opium-poppy fields and offer farmers alternative crops, international experts say that the 2006 opium crop will be as much as 40 percent larger than the previous year's. Afghanistan is the largest producer of opium in the world, and the source of as much as 90 percent of Europe's heroin.(more)