The PRT supports Governor Naeem's Counter Narcotics (CN) Strategy, through Alternative Livelihood programmes and support to the Governor Led Eradication programme, the first such comprehensive Provincial CN Strategy in Afghanistan. The strategy has contributed to a 27.5% reduction in poppy cultivation in Helmand between 2008-12. Whilst poppy cultivation grew from 2011-2012, the yield reduced, resulting in less opium entering the economy than in 2011. The CN Strategy is a holistic approach to the drug problem in Helmand and has 4 elements:
Governor Led Eradication
Community Led Eradication
Mentor and assist Counter Narcotics Police
Development programmes to establish markets and value chains that make the economic benefits of growing poppy less tangible.
Support and education to farmers growing licit crops.
Supporting diversification of new crops and markets such as grapes, almonds and pomegranates.
Counter Narcotics Public Information
In co-operation with the Governor’s Media Centre and other local partners we aim to increase the public's awareness of CN issues. To help the Governor achieve this the US Department of State funds a Public Information advisor who is embedded in the Ministry of Counter Narcotics. Public meetings, called shuras, are also supported by the PRT.
Drug Demand Reduction
It is estimated that 100,000 people die from heroin addiction worldwide each year. In Lashkar Gah the provincial government (with international assistance) has recently built a 20 bed rehabilitation facility. Nationally and internationally, drug demand reduction is a key element of removing the economic benefits from cultivating poppy. However, with national and regional addiction rates of up to 10% of the population, the opium economy is likely to remain a significant problem for the next few years.
In autumn 2010 over 46,000 farmers across Helmand were provided with access to subsidised inputs and training
to support a transition to legal livelihoods. This builds on previous distributions during which almost 100,000 farmers have been provided access to goods to help them diversify their agricultural
base and complete two licit cropping cycles during the year, thus increasing their income generation opportunities. In autumn 2011 42,020 farmers were provided a package of improved wheat seed and
high value vegetable crops which brings the total for the program to over 160,000 beneficiaries.
Governor Led Eradication (GLE) has been conducted in areas where access to alternative livelihoods was provided previously and where security conditions allowed. In 2011 Helmand accounted 48.5% of all eradication in Afghanistan (1940 ha out of 4004 ha), thereby injecting credible risk into farmers’ future planting decisions. 3637 ha were eradicated in 2012.
Interdictions & Justice
Recovery of illicit drugs is the responsibility of all security forces in Afghanistan, whenever they come
across opium, morphine, heroin or precursor chemicals. People found to be in possession of 2kg of heroin, or 10kg of opium, or 50kg of hashish or 50 litres of precursor chemicals are tried at
the Criminal Justice Task Force in Kabul. Those arrested with less are tried in the Province.