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Afghanistan’s first online drug-tracking system launched with UN backing

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counter narcoticAfghanistan’s first online system for counter narcotics went live today, thanks to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Afghanistan Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN).

The interactive Afghanistan Drug Reporting System (ADRS) is expected to play an important role, as Afghan officials will have access to up-to-date data on narcotics indicators in the country, including eradication efforts, cultivation rates, drug prices and seizure incidents.

UNODC and MCN built the online system not only to capture this and other information, but also to offer trend analysis for policy development. The ministries involved in counter narcotics initiatives, along with their international partners, are expected to populate the new system, which took three years to develop.

“For the first time ever, all counter narcotics data in Afghanistan will be located in one place,” said Andrey Avetisyan, UNODC’s Regional Representative for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries. “It is important because the policies that are developed and implemented to counter narcotics must be informed by accurate data.”

Afghanistan is one of the world’s leaders in illicit opium cultivation, with the country cultivating a record level of opium poppies last year. UNODC reported that the total area under cultivation was about 224,000 hectares, with an estimated opium production of 6,400 tons in 2014.

Mr. Avetisyan said that UNODC and MCN will continue to expand the system with additional historic data to build a complete picture of trends from the last 10 to 15 years, and then will connect ADRS with other systems in the region.

Speaking at the launch event today in Kabul, the Afghan Minister for Counter Narcotics, Salamat Azimi, said that the commencement of ADRS represents an important part of her ministry’s first 100-day plan, and will be a key component for leadership and coordination in counter narcotics.