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    ANTI-DRUG FIGHT TO BECOME TOP PRIORITY FOR WORLD COMMUNITY

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    TASHKENT, March 3, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent) - Fight against drug trafficking should become a top priority for the world community. According to the annually report of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime published in Vienna on Wednesday, opiates from Afghanistan continue flowing to Europe via Central Asia and Russia in large amounts. The exceptional growth of opiate confiscation has been registered in Central Asia.

    In 2003 Afghanistan accounted for three fourths of the world's illegal opium. Opiates are planted and spread in 28 out of the 32 Afghan provinces.

    More than 500,000 people are involved in trading Afghan opiates in the international chain from Afghanistan to Europe. Their annual turnover totals $30 billion. The total incomes of Afghan drug dealers and peasants that grow opium in 2003 were approximately $2.3 billion, which makes almost half of the country's official GDP.

    Chemical substances used to prepare opiates (precursors) arrive in Afghanistan along the same routes that are used to smuggle opiates in the reverse direction.

    "The drug situation in Uzbekistan remains rather serious," Kamol Dustmetov, director of the National Information and Analytical Center under the Uzbek cabinet, said at a press conference. Last year the republic registered 8,893 drug-related crimes, and confiscated over 1 tons of drugs from drug carriers, he said.

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