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11th December 2017

Poppy cultivation is spreading from south to north in Afghanistan

New motorbikes are circulating in the cities of Balkh as a sign of wealth in this state located in northern Afghanistan. This state has so far been left out of poppy cultivation, but this activity has increased by almost 500% this year.

It should be noted that since the overthrow of the Taliban, which prevented poppy cultivation before being the main source of their funding, Afghanistan has become the largest opium producer in the world.

With 9 thousand tonnes in 2017, production almost doubled in a single year. This crop is a major source of income in rural areas, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which lead to crop expansion and improved earnings.

A Western adviser acknowledges that "northern states, such as Balkh, are evidence of a great failure. Before two years, there was no poppy presence, which indicates a downgrade of official drug policies.

Only ten out of 34 Afghan states are free of poppy cultivation, while production shows a considerable increase in areas not significantly affected by these crops, including the north of the country and the two governorates of Jowzjan (+ 691 %) and Balkh (+ 481%), with the largest increase recorded in 2017.

A local observer, who asked not to be named, said that Balkh state and its capital Mazar-e-Sharif last spring experienced a major change in poppy cultivation, while adding "We could see the poppy from the governor's office. Everyone is engaged in this area from the smallest field to the largest garden."

Buses and trucks filled with farmers

Afghan sources and other westerners told AFP that the big increase in harvests required farmers in the south of the country to flock to "full buses and trucks" in Kandahar and Helmand. Southern states produce nearly half of Afghan opium.

The head of the Regional Ministry of Agriculture, Dhabihullah Zubin, confirms the abundance of crops that has led to a drop in prices, "from seven thousand Afghans (local currency) to three thousand" (from $ 106 to $ 45) at spring.

Despite this, a farmer of twenty-seven years, met by AFP, confirmed with a smile that he was able to take a second wife thanks to the abundance of his crops.

He said, "Everyone grows the poppy, we will never reap that money by growing melon or wheat," adding "The poppy grows much faster than wheat and requires less water. "

Experts note that the drought that has hit Afghanistan since 2014 has been instrumental in spreading poppy cultivation.

Brookings Institute researcher Vanda Felipe-Brown discusses the lack of economic alternatives in the countryside. "The opium economy is vital for many Afghans, there is no other sector that offers more job opportunities," she says.

Corruption and political messages

Helmand occupies half of the new areas that emerged during this year (+/- 63% in total), according to a European expert who believes that "increased levels of insecurity" contributes to the increase in culture poppy.

This situation reflects the resounding failure of US policy, which has spent more than $ 8 billion since 2002 to fight opium, a heroin raw material that is invading global markets.

According to the United Nations, Afghan opium covers "double the world demand which leads to expectations of price collapse".

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10th December 2017

The Arab League calls for the update of counter-terrorism strategies

The Arab League called for updating strategies and mechanisms to combat criminal and terrorist threats, strengthen criminal justice systems, open new horizons for cooperation and partnership between countries, and promote regional and international cooperation to combat crime and terrorism.

Moreover, at the end of the second meeting of the Steering Committee, and follow-up the second phase of the Regional Program for the Arab States in the fight against crime, terrorism and health threats, in addition to strengthening of the criminal justice system in accordance with international human rights standards 2016-2021, the league stressed that “terrorism is a global phenomenon that takes many different forms. It does not target a particular country or region, but its disastrous consequences and destructive effects extend beyond the national borders of all countries. The various forms of terrorism share the common goal of undermining security, threatening stability and prejudicing the rights of innocent people.”

The league explained at the end of the two-day meeting, with the participation of Jordan and representatives from Arab Justice, Interior and Health Ministries, that five joint subprogrammes were developed in cooperation with the Office of the United Nations against drugs and crime. These subprogrammes include the fight against organized crime, terrorism and corruption, in parallel with financial crimes and criminal justice, as well as the prevention of drug use, substance abuse disorders treatment and care, HIV prevention and management.

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9th December 2017

The largest cocaine shipment in 18 years has been seized in Spain

The Spanish Interior Ministry has made its largest cocaine bust in 18 years, after more than 5,800 kg of the drug were discovered on a container ship travelling from Medellin in Colombia.

The ship, stopped in the southern port of Algeciras, was carrying bananas from Colombia to El Prat de Llobregat, the location of the international airport in Catalonia, the Interior Ministry said on Tuesday,

Three people had been arrested in relation to the haul, including the Spanish head of the import company using the container, and more arrests have not been ruled out with at least two more under investigation, it said.

The cocaine, which was discovered Nov. 28 and had a street value of some 210 million euros ($ 250 million), was divided into blocks to be distributed to different destinations, the ministry said.

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7th December 2017

Saudi Interior Minister appointed Dr. "Al-Shathri" as Secretary of the National Narcotics Control Commission

The Interior Minister, Chairman of the National Commission for the Control of Narcotic Drugs, has decided to appoint Dr Faisal Bin Saad Al-Shathri as Secretary-General of the Commission.

Al-Shathri is considered one of the skilled national skills; he has already held several executive positions in the state that allowed him to gain more experience.

All members of the Secretariat of the National Commission for the Control of Narcotic Drugs, members and advisers of the National Project for Drug Prevention "Nebras" congratulate Dr. Faisal Al-Shathri for the confidence of the Interior Minister.

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6th December 2017

Algeria is leader in the fight against AIDS and methadone will reduce the number of drug addicts

Dr. Zdam Adel Zdam, head of the "ONUSIDA" Office in Algeria, said in an interview with "Al-Massa" that Algeria is one of the best countries in covering the treatment of Aids patients through the provision of appropriate medications and needed treatment. Statistics indicate that during the current year and until June 30, 2017, 10,200 people took the medicine in question. As a result, intensive awareness campaigns will continue through the joint efforts of all government sectors and civil society throughout the coming year. Dr. Zdam has announced good news to patients: A new treatment for AIDS treatment has been discovered. It consists of an injection given every three months. Moreover, it is a very effective treatment that eliminates the effect of the virus, allowing thus the patient who receives the injection to get married and have children without complications.

Algeria has adopted screening and treatment strategy

Dr. Zdam regretfully said that many people do not care much about undergoing relevant examination and analysis after an accident, injury or act that makes them vulnerable to AIDS. He said, "People do not take precautions by going to see a specialist for diagnosis because of a lack of awareness, fear of rejection and social marginalization." Dr. Zdam added that the carrier of the virus now has the solution and treatment as soon as he makes the diagnosis, as Algeria has adopted a new strategy which involves screening and instant treatment. When an individual is diagnosed as an HIV positive, he can take the drug, which allows him to live an ordinary life and reach a normal middle age. The drug also protects the patient from transmitting the virus to others because it reduces the virus’ effects and risks.

Dr. Zdam mentioned that the World Health Organization this year has adopted the slogan "My health is my right", which must be respected by health users because the HIV virus carriers, as confirmed by the specialist, have the right of access to healthcare and health insurance, which is a constitutional right in Algeria that is guaranteed legally. In case the AIDS patient needs other treatments, active associations in this field have the right to puruse the medical person or institution legally if they refuse to treat the patient. Yet, often this first pretext is the breakdown of the medical device or its non-existence to justify their non-intervention. Dr. Zdam added that taking all the necessary precautions pertinent to the devices’ sterilization constitute one of the bases of the work in the health and medical field.

"Methadone" will help reduce the number of injecting drug users

Dr. Zdam said that the national AIDS strategy has prioritized vulnerable groups to take their share of prevention while simultaneously providing prevention to others, such as injecting drug users. Indeed, there is a definite health program to introduce a medicine currently used in developed countries to treat drug addiction and which is known by "Methadone". During treatment with this drug, the addict does not have to use the syringes exchanged by drug users that cause the transmission of the disease through the blood. Some figures indicate that the percentage of drug addicts is 3.4% according the diagnostic centers.

The syringe instead of tablets ... the novelty in medicine

Dr. Zdam reassured patients by announcing the existence of a new, more developed and effective treatment, recalling that medicine has evolved over the years. In the early nineties, people were treated with drugs with serious side effects and health complications, and in early 2000, the patient took 17 tablets a day, and in difficult circumstances in terms of how medications were taken. Now, the patient takes a single tablet a day, with fewer complications, and is very comfortable psychologically because he does not face embarrassing social issues.

Regarding therapeutic development, the Doctor added that "there will be progress in the coming months. The method of treatment will be a three-month injection without side effects, which will allow the person with the disease to live normally, especially as the rate of virus in the blood will be low and almost paralyzed, giving him the opportunity to get married and have children if his partner is not HIV-positive. Thus the sick person will not transmit the virus to his partner, yet, he must persist taking his medication and live according to recommended health and therapeutic education.

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5th December 2017

Saudi Arabia: 300 recovered patients from addiction in the spring camp in Dammam

Preparations are currently ongoing for the fifth spring camp for drug addiction recovered patients. The camp aims to provide a safe environment away from drug use through the establishment of an education and training program for nearly 300 recovered addicts. A number of government agencies are involved in the realization of this Spring Forum, including the National Committee for the Control of Narcotic Drugs in the Kingdom i.e. "Nebras", the Drug Control Administration in the Eastern Region, the Committee of Patients’ Friends in the Eastern Region and the "Taâfi" Charity Association.

The Forum hosts nearly 300 recovered patients from various parts of the Kingdom and some Gulf states, who have already resided at the complex and are now at the stage of recovery from addiction. The forum lasts for three consecutive months during which many educational, recreational and training activities take place while engaging the recovered patients and the treatment teams, represented by the Orientation and Restoration Department and the Continuing Care Center, in these activities.

The General Supervisor of Al-Amal Complex for Mental Health in Dammam, Dr. Mohammed Al-Zahrani, said the forum will be held for three consecutive months during which many educational, recreational and sports activities will be organized to enable recovered patients acquire the skill of dealing with living conditions without taking any drugs, and that such programs contribute significantly to the continuity of recovery. Al-Zahrani thanked the National Committee for the Control of Narcotic Drugs in the Kingdom “ Nebras”, the Drug Control Administration in the Eastern Region, the Committee of Patients’ Friends in the Eastern Region, the "Taâfi" Charity Association, the Governor of Ariraarh Province and the Mayor of Ariraarh for their support of this annual forum.

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وزير الداخلية السعودي يقرر تعيين "الشثري" أميناً للجنة الوطنية #لمكافحة #المخدرات https://t.co/Lg4ejvQcr7 https://t.co/ndDr1mmVXK

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Saudi Interior Minister appointed Dr. "Al-Shathri" as Secretary of the National #Narcotics Control Commission… https://t.co/VDLm6JQqzk

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سعودی وزیرِ داخلہ نے ڈاکٹر ''الشثری'' کو نیشنل نارکوٹک کنٹرول کمیشن کا سیکریٹری مقرر کردیا ہے… https://t.co/gcZEe4IJKG

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Le Ministre de l'Intérieur saoudien nomme « Al-Shathri » Secrétaire du Comité National de Contrôle des Stupéfiants… https://t.co/KMHfgS77OY

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Saudi Arabia: 300 recovered patients from #addiction in the spring camp in Dammam https://t.co/4C25et4Det https://t.co/U8QGhknkIK

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