DEA in Afghanistan: The Early Years

November 3, 2010

The third in the series: DEA in Afghanistan.

In the late 1980s during the Afghanistan/Russian War, the poppy fields were flourishing and the poppies were being converted first to morphine, then into heroin, which found its way to the U.S. It is estimated that 50% of the U.S. heroin in 1987-88 originated in Afghanistan. DEA, acting on intelligence alongside the Mujahideen, raided over 15 operating heroin labs and seized and destroyed tons of heroin and morphine base. Retired Special Agent Chuck Carter provides insight into the inner workings of DEA in SW Asia and the precursor to today’s FAST units.

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DEA’s FAST Units in Afghanistan

October 13, 2010, 10:00 AM

The second in the series: DEA in Afghanistan.

The Foreign-Deployed Advisory and Support Teams (FAST) are the enforcement arm of DEA’s Afghan Campaign Plan and Drug Flow Attack Strategy (DFAS). DFAS is used globally to develop operations which disrupt and seize shipments of drugs, precursor chemicals, and operating capital; and to disrupt Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) activity and identify trafficker reaction.

In Afghanistan, FAST works hand-in-hand with U.S. Military Special Operations forces to counter drug trafficking. DEA FAST’s relationship with U.S. Special Forces and U.S. Navy SEAL teams is to combine target information, resources, and expertise to disrupt the drug economy and its symbiotic relationship with the Taliban.

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Overview of DEA Activities in Afghanistan

September 22, 2010, 10:00 AM

The first in the series: DEA in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of opium. The Taliban and other groups participate in and profit from the opiate trade. DEA has been instrumental in working to reduce the drug production from this major source country. Calvin Bond, DEA Staff Coordinator, returned from Afghanistan to offer insights into DEA’s activities in the country and the current drug trafficking situation.

History and Current Trends of Marijuana Abuse in the United States

June 15, 2010

The last in the series: Cannabis, Coca and Poppy: Nature’s Addictive Plants.

Spice, K2, What are these things, and what do they have to do with marijuana? The abuse of marijuana in the United States continues to evolve. Forensic scientists have witnessed the increasing potency of the marijuana plant over the last several decades. Sophisticated grow operations along with an understanding of the plant’s chemistry have allowed growers to obtain high potency levels. Now, users are abusing a new form of “marijuana” synthetic cannabinoids. The abuse of these legal smoking blends is rapidly increasing and presents new challenges to the forensic chemist.

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The Science of Marijuana (Just the Facts)

April 27, 2010, 10:00 AM

A continuation in the series: Cannabis, Coca and Poppy: Nature’s Addictive Plants.

This presentation by Susan Weiss, Ph.D., Office of Science Policy and Communications, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) highlights what we know and what we don’t about marijuana’s effects on the brain and the body. The use of marijuana can produce adverse physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral changes, and—contrary to popular belief—it can be addictive. Marijuana smoke, like cigarette smoke, can harm the respiratory system. The use of marijuana can impair short-term memory, verbal skills, and judgment, and distort perception. Because marijuana affects brain systems that are still maturing during young adulthood, use by young teens may have a negative effect on development.

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