Drug Abuse Among Afghan Police Force
Instead of focusing on eradicating crops, the Obama administration has started going directly to the source—drug labs and drug traffickers. The administration also wants to give financial incentives to help farmers switch from planting opium poppies to legal crops.
The U.S. report, however, shows that the Afghan police force has its own problems with drug use and addiction, saying that 12 to 41 percent of police recruits tested positive for illegal drugs. Because opiates leave the system quickly, the percentage of users is probably higher. The report states that many recruits who initially tested negative for drugs later showed opium withdrawal symptoms.
The report also noted poor evidence gathering, inconsistent crime scene investigations, and weak cases in efforts to arrest drug traffickers, which could be due to lack of training and high illiteracy rates among the police force. They also found that police weren’t arresting high-level traffickers.
About $2.5 billion has been allocated by the U.S. to curb production, trafficking, and use of drugs in Afghanistan. Drugs account for about one-third of the economy and are a major source of funding for the insurgency.
Source: Reuters, Sue Pleming, Drug Abuse is Problem Among Afghan Police Recruits, March 10, 2010