Afghanistan remains the world’s largest producer of opium and has an under-reported but growing heroin-use problem. Current drug control policies in Afghanistan are unrealistic, reflecting a need for immediate signs of hope rather than a serious analysis of the underlying causes and an effort to achieve long-term solutions.
In 2004, the Transnational Institute (TNI) and the Andreas G. Papandreou Foundation (APF) started an Informal Drug Policy Dialogue. Purpose of the dialogue is to have an open-minded exchange of views on current dilemmas in international drug policy making and discuss strategies on how contradictions might be resolved. The meetings are guided by 'Chatham House Rules' to encourage a free exchange of thoughts and confidentiality.
In June 2008, the Cambodian government set up a media show, burning 1,278 drums of safrole-rich oil—a key ingredient in the manufacture of the illicit recreational drug ecstasy—with the help of the Australian Federal Police (AFP). The amount of oil could have been used to make an estimated 245 million ecstasy tablets with a street value of $7.6 billion in Australia, the AFP claimed. While thick black plumes of smoke went into the air, Australian police officers, who had traveled to Cambodia to assist in the public burning, looked on wearing chemical suits and breathing apparatus.
This TNI briefing aims at contributing to a better understanding of current market dynamics in Southeast Asia, essential for designing more effective and sustainable policy responses consistent with human rights and harm reduction principles.
A significant decline in opium production in Burma and Laos, which has been heralded as a major success for international drug control policy, is having a devastating effect on farmers and is triggering worrying consequences for drug users according to a new report released today by the Amsterdam-based Transnational Institute (TNI).