This week, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported that opium production in Afghanistan rose by 43 percent in 2016.
The report is disturbing on many levels. But it is especially disturbing considering the billions of dollars the U.S. government has thrown into Afghanistan attempting to eliminate poppy production. Since 2002, the U.S. has spent a staggering $12 billion trying to eliminate opium production in Afghanistan, a number four times the size of the entire economy in 2002.
Despite having the best of intentions and more money at their disposal than ever before, the U.S. has been completely unable to stem this tidal wave of poppy production. According to Al Jazeera, Afghanistan now produces more than 80 percent of the world’s illicit opium, the vast majority of which is used to produce heroin.