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Afghanistan sits high as world's largest opium poppy cultivators
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A record amount of opium poppies were grown in Afghanistan during 2014. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan was at 224,000 hectares, up from 2013's 209,000 hectares.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The drug, heroin, is derived from the poppies. According to the 2014 World Drug Report, published by the UNODC, "Afghanistan is by far the world's largest producer of opium. The opium production in Afghanistan accounts for 80 percent of the global opium production (5,500 tons)," the report stated.
Afghanistan is now producing more than three times the amount produced since the first recorded opium cultivation in 1994.
"In 2014, 98 percent of total opium cultivation in Afghanistan took place in the Southern, Eastern and Western regions of the country," data reports. The province of Hilmand was Afghanistan's largest opium producer in 2014, producing 103,240 hectares, according to CNS News.
Most of the U.S. casualties in Afghanistan occurred in either Hilmand or Kandahar provinces. Kandahar follows Hilmand as the second largest opium cultivator.
"There is evidence that Afghan heroin is increasingly reaching new markets, such as Oceania and Southeast Asia, that had been traditionally supplied from Southeast Asia," according to the report.
As production of opium poppies increased, the total percent of provincial government poppy destruction decreased 63 percent from 2013. According to UNODC's report, only 2,692 hectares were eradicated as opposed to 2013's 7,348 hectares.
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