While back in May Obama promised America's mission in Afghanistan was over, and all US troops would leave the country by the end of 2016, the "unintended" consequences of the US presence in this favored by al-Qaeda country will haunt America for a long time. And especially New York, where according to a new report by the Department of Mental Hygiene, the number of people who died from unintentional heroin overdoses in New York City last year was the highest in over a decade.
As WaPo reports, in New York, "where the overall rate of drug overdose deaths has dramatically risen since 2010, there is a national problem playing out across the city’s streets. The number of overdoses involving heroin in the city has significantly increased since 2010, accounting for more than half of New York City’s overdoses last year. And more than three-quarters of the overdoses in the city involved an opioid of some kind."
The number of heroin overdose deaths has risen every year since 2010, as the number of deaths has more than doubled to 420 people last year from 209 just three years earlier:
Some more on the ethnic and socioeconomic distribution of heroin-related deaths:
These overdoses are significantly impacting neighborhoods where the poverty level is the highest:
The Bronx and Staten Island were the boroughs where the most heroin overdoses occurred, but the situation worsened in Queens. That borough — which had trailed the other four in 2011 and 2012 — saw the rate of heroin overdoses more than double last year.
As has been the case for years, the rate of overdoses is the highest among white residents. But the rate has skyrocketed among Hispanic residents, more than doubling from 2010:
... and by age group:
Another particularly troubling trend noted by the Health Department was the increased rate of overdoses seen among younger New Yorkers. The age bracket with the biggest increase in heroin overdoses was people between 15 and 34, though people 35 to 54 still had the highest rate of heroin overdoses.
So why do we say that any of the above tragic events is a direct consequence of US presence in Afghanistan? Well, because while the US may be getting out of Afghanistan, it has been there since 2001. And what has happened to Afghan opium cultivation during the period of implicit US occupation?