What are the political, social, and economic dynamics of the production and distribution of opium and cocaine in producing countries?

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Approximately 90 percent of the world's opium poppy cultivation takes place in Afghanistan. Poppies provide the local population with a relatively lucrative and stable source of income. The number of acres devoted to cultivation, though, has fallen as a result of drought in recent years. The demand for heroin made from the opium has also fallen, as synthetic opioids such as fentanyl have grown in popularity. Opium production is to a large extent controlled by the Taliban, who depend on it for most of their funding. Efforts by the Americans to eradicate drug production have largely been fruitless. The acreage devoted to growing poppies in Myanmar, the second largest opium producer on the globe, has fallen recently. This is attributed to the rising demand for synthetics, as well as efforts at repurposing the land used to farm it.

One country also dominates coca bush cultivation. Seventy percent of the area devoted to growing this crop used in cocaine production is found in Colombia. As is the case in Afghanistan with the Taliban, an insurgent group has played a large part. After FARC (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) signed a peace agreement with the government in 2016, the promotion of alternative crops and eradication efforts increased greatly. Major cities such as Cali also saw dramatic reductions in crime levels. However, growing coca leaf is still an attractive alternative for Colombian farmers and cocaine production in the country is at record levels

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