Methamphetamine trafficking increases in Afghanistan and neighboring countries

Study shows methamphetamine trafficking on the rise Since the Taliban crackdown on drugs in 2022. In contrast, the illicit heroin trade has declined.

According to UNODC, South-West Asia can generally be seen as playing a transshipment role for methamphetamine to downstream wholesale markets, while South-Eastern Europe plays an important transshipment role in heroin trafficking to major markets in Western and Central Europe.

Drug markets may change

This expansion of narcotics trafficking reflects Methamphetamine manufacturing ramps up The illicit drug market, long dominated by Afghan opioids, may be shifting.

Seizures of methamphetamine allegedly originating in Afghanistan have reached European Union, Middle East and Near Eastern CountriesSoutheast Asia and East Africa.

UNODC Executive Director Ghada Wali noted that the increase in methamphetamine trafficking in Afghanistan and the region indicates significant changes in the illicit drug market, Requires immediate attention.

“Stop the continued expansion of illicit methamphetamine manufacturing in and around Afghanistan Regional coordination is crucial Valli said this prevents the diversion and smuggling of chemical precursors. He added that the new report aims to alert the international community to the growing threat of synthetic drugs.

Precursors: Ephedra and cold medicine

Precursors used to produce methamphetamine in Afghanistan include Ephedra, a plant abundant in the area It contains ephedrine, which is extracted and used in the manufacture of medicines.

Ephedrine is inexpensive to use in the short term; however, the study suggests that the large amounts of ephedra required, coupled with unreliable harvests and heavy labor, make Afghanistan’s methamphetamine trade unlikely to rely entirely on ephedra plant.

Analysis shows, Common cold medicines and industrial-grade chemicals are more efficient and cost-effective Used in the manufacture of methamphetamine and therefore poses a greater threat.

UNODC recalled that these chemicals Produced legally and sold in large quantities Available to methamphetamine manufacturers.

According to the agency’s calculations, it would take approximately 197 kilograms of dried ephedra were processed to produce pure methamphetamine. Considering that approximately half of the plant’s weight comes from water, the equivalent amount of freshly harvested ephedra is estimated to be 437 kilograms.

Instead, they only need 28kg of cold medicine can produce 1 piece Pure methamphetamine, which greatly reduces the amount needed. As for technical grade ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, the required amount per kilogram is less than ten kilograms.

“These initial inputs are more efficient Seizures of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine precursors have been reported in South Asia, a region with a large chemical industry,” the report states.

Don’t focus on ephedra

In light of this evidence, UNODC insists that the focus on ephedra will affect reaction effective law enforcementand insists that these measures must be coordinated within the region and focus on preventing and stopping the diversion and smuggling of bulk chemical precursors.

Additionally, it calls for a review of regulations governing cold medicine formulations, including exploring possible reformulation of ephedrine-containing products to Reduce the availability of these inputs for the manufacture of methamphetamine while ensuring adequate access to such drugs for health reasons.

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