Did the War in Afghanistan create the heroin crisis?

Heroin is made out of opium. Most opium now comes from Afghanistan, but the Taliban almost eradicated the opium poppies before we bombed them back to the stone age. I don’t think this is a coincidence.

First you need to show that there is or ever was a “heroin crisis”.

My understanding is that drug usage is fairly stable over the years.

So it might be more a “media- needs-some -new-news crisis” or a “DEA/police-need-more-funding crisis”.

Heroin use is in fact up over the past decade or so, but the increase was more recent than the advent of the Afghan War

cite: http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/data-mine/2015/08/19/the-heroin-epidemic-in-9-graphs

Looks like Heroin use in the US spiked starting around 2010, right around when the use of other opioid analgesics (which had been steadily rising for at least a decade) started leveling off. Did we pass laws limiting access around 2010?
I read that fentanyl use has really taken off recently. No plants required, just relatively simple organic chemistry. I’m not sure which of the precursors, if any, are restricted.

The uptick in opiate-related deaths is primarily due to prescription painkillers which are all synthetics.

Oxycontin was reformulated to be un-crushable in 2010.

It looks to me like poppy farmers had one bad season in '01 and then went right back to business as usual. That probably didn’t cause much of a blip in the global heroin market.

I’d like to know more about why poppie farmers are back in business under US control. The farmers will say there is no other crop lucrative enough. That didn’t stop the US from eradicating coca fields in SA.

“Control” might be overstating the case. And I wouldn’t be the least surprised if what little support US troops have in Afghanistan is contingent on not pissing off the local warlords who control poppy cultivation.

Heroin usage is almost non-existent in Vancouver, Canada now. It has been replaced by fentanyl. And consequently overdoses are skyrocketing.

And the fact that it’s striking and killing large numbers of white middle-class people. :rolleyes:

And Prince, too. Fentanyl.

How do you propose the US go about eradicating poppies in Afghanistan?

First, I don’t recall spare divisions just sitting around Afghanistan waiting to be employed in poppy eradication. Soldiers in Afghanistan were busy, you know, fighting a war. I get very frustrated with this man-on-the-moon thinking that the US is so powerful that it must be directly responsible for everything that does or does not happen in the world. Second, the US DID provide billions of dollars to fund Afghan poppy eradication efforts. This effort has been of limited value because (A) the Afghans are corrupt as hell, (B) eradicating a farmer’s livelihood tends to piss them off and drive them to join the insurgency, and (C) there are a LOT of goddamned poppies.

Anyway, to regard to OP’s question: It is well-known that the Taliban turned to drug profits to fund their group, even though they opposed drug production earlier. Whether this created a “heroin crisis” is up for debate. But here’s a thought: Maybe if shitheads would stop injecting themselves with weird chemicals, the global opium trade would dry up. How about we start blaming the people who actually buy this stuff?

So, yeah, middle-class white people and wealthy brown people getting addicted and/or dying = crisis.

Meanwhile, poor folks of any color dropping dead? Who cares, right? :rolleyes: No, seriously, society doesn’t give a damn if the poor are dying.

Opioid death rate per 100,000 has quadrupled in the US over the last two decades, thanks mainly to the pharmaceutical companies push to have docs “treat more pain” by prescribing more of their opioid products. The rate is only now stabilizing as opioid prescriptions are going down. But many folks who were getting prescription oxycodone and other opioids are now turning to non-prescription heroin. Death by heroin overdose has tripled since 2010, so I’d say that constitutes a ‘heroin crisis’.

So no, the War didn’t cause the heroin crisis. Inappropriate opioid prescribing did. Or at least contributed a huuuge hunk to it.

No … opium poppies were being grown in Afghanistan before the war … as I remember, the Taliban was beginning to consider whether to debate measures to curtail production. I have no idea how far that got before the bombs started falling.

So the war wasn’t about easy access to oil, as the tin foil hat brigade claimed after 9/11, but really for easy access to opium? We’ve been fooled all these years? hey, I’m just asking questions!

That’s the bottom line, isn’t it? All the proper (in their own minds) Muslims over there decry the decadent west, but if there’s money to be made in opium, well, then they have no problem making and selling it.

Fentanyl is 50 times more powerful than heroin and you can make it without a crop. It is a part of street heroin now, or all of it in many cases. They are making it in Mexico. They don’t need no stinkin poppys.