White House Makes a Big Deal of New Heroin Efforts–But Says Nothing about Stemming the Flow or Why We’re Still at War in Narco-State Afghanistan
By Meryl Nass
On March 29, 2016 the White House issued a press release on its new heroin initiative. TheWashington Post described how much Obama proposed to do. The long list of fixes and new public-private partnerships concern addiction treatment almost exclusively, with a little increased policing. The 1 billion dollars spent, Obama said, will treat “tens of thousands” of addicts.
Additional treatment is desperately needed, but the money won’t go far. The White House and RAND said in 2014 that the US had 800,000–2.4 million heroin addicts. Treatment requires many months or years, and costs tens of thousands of dollars per person. The new funding will support less than 10% of those needing treatment.
Speaking at the National Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta, Obama … called addiction a “heartbreaking” issue that’s costing lives and devastating communities across the country.
And can you be as glib, Mr. President, at explaining why you completely left out efforts to reduce the heroin supply?
From Wired, we learn that Obama ended (yes, ended) Afghan opium eradication soon after taking office:
In 2009, in one of his first major war policy decisions since becoming president, Barack Obama oversaw an end to U.S. poppy eradication… Without American support, Afghan government counternarcotic operations withered to a merely symbolic scale. Kabul’s agents would raze one acre of a 10-acre plot and call it “eradicated.”
And that’s when the US heroin epidemic really took off, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:
Aerial poppy eradication is off the table, according to the State Department, and the US no longer supports Afghan national counter-narcotics efforts. Hello?
Mr. President: Please explain why you pulled the wool over the eyes of the American people by claiming the Taliban are the profiteers of Afghan opium? Why didn’t you tell the truth: thatthey tax the acreage used to grow the crop? (As do anti-Taliban militias in areas they control.) This is akin to property taxes.
Somebody else actually buys the opium, converts it to heroin, and brings it to the US, where it sells for over 1,000 times what the Taliban received in taxes.
Who, Mr. President, collects the big money? Who buys the opium harvest, protects themovement of opium, its conversion to heroin, and ships it over here, undetected? Last I heard, the US installed much of the Afghan government and patrolled a lot of poppy fields. Afghanistan is where between 75% and 93% of the world’s illicit opium is grown each year, on 500,000 (undisturbed) acres.