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"Afghan heroin hitting our streets, Mounties warn
Proliferation of drug 'directly threatens' Canadians, two newly released federal agency reports reveal".
Canada in Afghanistan: Top Ten Under-reported Facts PDF Print E-mail
Written by MANA (the Media Alliance for New Activism)
Thursday, 16 March 2006
The Canadian mainstream media has been promoting our role in Afghanistan, with almost no critical voices, despite polling that indicates between 48% to 62% of Canadians not only question but oppose our engagement of troops in this war-torn country (Ipsos-Reid, Mar. 4/06; Strategic Counsel/Globe and Mail, Feb. 24/06).
The 'post-Harper trip' polling results have been misrepresented because Strategic Counsel found that, while views had shifted due to a heightened campaign by the military and the media, 69% want a "debate to decide if our troops should stay in Afghanistan beyond next year" and 70% base their support on the misconception that our purpose is significantly more "peacekeeping than combat." In fact, the new polling finds that "52 per cent of Canadians say they are against a 10-year mission" (Globe and Mail, Mar. 14/06).
HERE ARE TEN VERIFIABLE FACTS THE MEDIA HAS AVOIDED
FACT #1: Jean Chretien & Canadian Corporations Involved in Trans-Afghan Pipeline
FACT #2: Gordon O'Connor, Defence Minister, Is Former Military Lobbyist
FACT #3: Current Afghan Parliament Includes Warlords and Drug Lords
FACT #4: Afghan Warlords Considered Bigger Threat Than Taliban
FACT #5: Afghan Women Face Repression Despite Removal Of Taliban
FACT #6: Elected Afghan Woman Faces Death Threats For Speaking Out
FACT #7: Since the U.S.-led War, Afghanistan Is Increasingly Hooked on Heroin
FACT #8: U.S. And Coalition Forces Using Excessive Force & Arbitrary Detention
FACT #9: Canada Complicit In Violation of Human Rights For 'War On Terror'
FACT #10: U.S. Finds More Oil and Gas Reserves After 4-Year Search
In its massive 2007 World Drug Report, the UN agency says there is strong evidence of a downward trend or at least a levelling off in the production of the world's most popular illicit drugs with one notable exception — heroin, most of it flowing from one out-of-control province in southern Afghanistan.
Indeed, opium production in Afghanistan — much of it in the regions where Canadian and British troops are supposed to be in charge — shot up dramatically last year.
The 49 per cent increase in the opium harvest, right under the noses of NATO forces, represented a doubling of the crop from 2000, when the fundamentalist Taliban were still in control, and solidified Afghanistan's position as the chief supplier of illegal opium to the world.
In Canada, in particular, there are not many heroin users, fewer than 100,000, according to one recent estimate. In fact, Benedikt Fischer of the University of Victoria, one of the country's top drug researchers, reported last year that heroin is "an increasingly marginal form of drug use" in Canada and has been overtaken by the illicit trade in prescription opioids such as OxyContin and Percocet.
Development of pharmaceutical heroin
Presently, there is a considerable interest in heroin-assisted treatment: co-prescription of heroin to certain subgroups of chronic, treatment-resistant, opioid dependent patients. In 2002, nine countries had planned (Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Spain) or ongoing (Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom) clinical trials on this subject. These trials (and the routine heroin-assisted treatment programs that might result) will need pharmaceutical heroin (diacetylmorphine) to prescribe to the patients.