In 2011, the farm-gate value of opium production more than doubled from 2010 to $1.4 billion and now accounts for 15 percent of the Afghan economy, the UNODC says.
Opiate consumption in Afghanistan, where it has long been a medication but in recent years has been used increasingly for recreation, is also on a sharp rise. The UNODC says Afghanistan has a million heroin and opium addicts out of a population of 30 million, making it the world’s top user per capita.
No estimates are available on how many Afghan women are addicted to opium or heroin. Nejat estimates around 60,000 women in Afghanistan regularly take illegal drugs, including hashish and marijuana.
“There has been a definite increase among women drug users over the last decade,” said Arman Raoufi, director of harm reduction for women at Nejat.