India tops heroin consumption in South Asia: UN

ISLAMABAD: A report compiled by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has ranked India on the top for consumption of heroin among the South Asian nations.

According to the report, India consumed 17 metric tons (mt) of heroin in 2008 while the current consumption is estimated in the range of 65-70 mt.The production of Opium, which forms the raw material for subsequent refinement to heroin, is totally indigenous.

The UN report has confirmed that no foreign sourced opium has been sized nor reported as trafficked into India “Consequently, such a consumption level (6% of the estimated global total) would require the illicit cultivation of some 1500 – 2000 hectares of opium poppy on Indian territory” the report said.

The heroin produced by India is also finding its way into the neighboring countries where its demand is rising.

According to official reports from the governments of Nepal and Bangladesh, almost all the heroin consumed in these countries originates in India. The UN has recommended in-depth heroin consumption and trafficking study to be carried out in India.

According to observers Indian sourced heroin is not the only worry of its neighbors; smuggling of chemicals necessary for heroin production has turned for them into a major threat.

India has become one of the largest producers of acetic anhydride, a chemical that is basic in production of heroin. Several cases of smuggling of significant quantities of this chemical have occurred in the recent past.

In fact India monopolizes the sourcing of these chemicals to Afghanistan where laboratories run by warlords, affiliated to India, are churning out 380 mt of heroin per year destined for the global market, say observers. –ARY

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