From this Associated Press article that we found at NPR, we read more about the increase in addiction.
Nearly 3 percent of Afghans aged 15 to 64 are addicted to opiates, according to a study by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime. The U.N. defines addicts as regular users.
That puts Afghanistan, along with Russia and Iran, as the top three countries for opiate drug use worldwide, according to Sarah Waller, an official of the U.N.'s drug office in Kabul. She said a 2005 survey found about 1.4 percent of Afghan adults were opiate addicts.
The data suggest that even as the U.S. and its allies pour billions of dollars into programs to try to wean the Afghan economy off of drug money, opium and heroin have become more entrenched in the lives of ordinary Afghans. That creates yet another barrier to international efforts to combat the drug trade, which helps pay for the Taliban insurgency.
"The human face of Afghanistan's drug problem is not only seen on the streets of Moscow, London or Paris. It is in the eyes of its own citizens, dependent on a daily dose of opium and heroin above all — but also cannabis, painkillers and tranquilizers," said Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.
Afghanistan supplies 90 percent of the world's opium, the main ingredient in heroin, and is the global leader in hashish production. Drug crops have helped finance insurgents and encourage corruption, particularly in the south where the Taliban control cultivation of opium poppies and smuggling routes.
The Afghan government and its international backers have made a massive effort in recent years to discourage farmers from growing opium poppy, and its cultivation dropped 22 percent last year. Some of the drop is likely due to lower market prices, but the government has said it also shows that the Afghan war on drugs is having some success. Twenty of the country's 34 provinces were declared poppy-free in 2009.