Monday, May 21, 2007

Al Jazeera English - News - Afghanistan's Child Opium Addicts

Al Jazeera English - News - Afghanistan's Child Opium Addicts: "Afghanistan remains infamous as an exporter of opium. However, opium use within the country is just as rampant, with perhaps one million addicts in the country, according to the UN, of whom more than 600,000 are under the age of 15."

I'm having a very hard time wrapping my mind around this. The numbers are staggering. Going off the CIA World Factbook numbers, that's about 4% of Afghanis under the age of 15. It's an obscenely high percentage.

The most recent UN drug use survey I've seen on Afghanistan is 2005. [here] In that report, child drug use for all surveyed drugs was 60,000 or 0.7% of the under-15 population at the time of the report.

The Al Jazeera article has a sixfold increase (150,000 to 1,000,000) in opium use (all ages) in just two years. That seems unlikely without big errors in one survey or the other. If anybody has a link to the 2007 report Al Jazeera is talking about, please post it.

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