Drug Control:

U.S. Heroin Control Efforts in Southwest Asia and the Former Soviet Union

NSIAD-97-148BR: Published: May 9, 1997. Publicly Released: Jun 9, 1997.

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Benjamin F. Nelson
(202) 512-4128


Office of Public Affairs
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on: (1) the extent of the opium and heroin production threat in Southwest Asia, Russia, and the Central Asian Republics; (2) efforts by the United States to address this threat; (3) the obstacles to counternarcotics strategies and programs in these regions; and (4) the status of efforts to control diversion of opium produced in India for use by U.S. pharmaceutical companies.

GAO noted that: (1) despite a significant increase in Southwest Asia opium poppy cultivation and production from 1987 to 1996, Southwest Asian heroin is not presently a major threat to the United States, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); (2) Russia and the Central Asian Republics of the former Soviet Union have not been classified as major opium producers, but Southwest Asian opium and heroin trafficking routes have expanded in the region; (3) except for Pakistan, the United States has provided very limited drug control assistance to Southwest Asia, Russia, and the Central Asian Republics; (4) the primary obstacles to drug control efforts are the lack of government control of opium poppy cultivation areas in Southwest Asia and the lack of resources and institutional capability in Russia and the Central Asian Republics; and (5) India's inability to control diversion of its licit opium crop continues to be a drug control concern, according to the Department of State and DEA.

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