13:17 GMT29 September 2020
Listen Live
    Get short URL

    Heroin has outpaced cocaine as the drug of choice for a new era of users within the United States because of abundance of opiate-based prescription drugs and a reliant supply of opium poppy, according to a US State Department report.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Deaths from heroin overdoses in the United States have been on the rise in recent years, increasing by 45 percent between 1999 and 2010, according to the US Office of National Drug Control Policy.

    “One of the most unwelcome recent developments has been the resurgence of heroin use within the United States.” the report, released on Wednesday, said.

    “Long overshadowed by cocaine as a threat, this heavily addictive drug is staging a comeback in the United States among a new generation of users who have been introduced to opiates through prescription opioids,” it added.

    Cocaine use in the United States dropped by 50 percent over the past decade as heroin consumption rose, according to the report, and the increase largely attributable to a higher supply in heroin’s primary source: opium poppy.

    “Unlike coca, which grows in only three Andean countries, opium poppy grows in nearly every region of the world,” the report said.

    Its annual crop with multiple harvests per year is much harder to eliminate, and once harvested, the report added, “opium gum remains viable as a narcotic for up to several years, allowing traffickers to stockpile it.”

    The vast majority of the world’s opium derives from Asia, particularly in Afghanistan, but most of the heroin that flows through the United States originates within the Western Hemisphere, according to the State Department.

    In 2014, the United States worked closely with the governments of Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala to implement poppy eradication programs and disrupt drug cartels, according to the report.

    “The United States will continue working with these governments to reduce heroin supplies, promote demand reduction and target the various steps in the supply-chain used by trafficking networks,” the report said.

    On March 12, US Southern Command Commander John Kelly told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the United States is not responding effectively to the heroin epidemic, particularly by not curbing the demand for drugs.

    U.S. Department of State, opium poppy, heroin, cocaine, drugs
    Community standardsDiscussion