Meth use rises to alarming levels in Turkey

Meth use in Turkey has risen to alarming levels, daily BirGün columnist Timur Soykan reported on Aug. 24. The number of meth confiscated by Turkish police has been on a sharp incline since 2018, the columnist said, noting that this number quadrupled from 2019 to 2020, reaching a total of over four tons.

File photo.

Duvar English

The use of the narcotic substance methamphetamine has increased to alarming levels in Turkey as a result of a new production development in Afghanistan, daily BirGün columnist Timur Soykan reported on Aug. 24. 

Producer of 94 percent of the world's heroine, Afghanistan has become a hotbed for meth manufacture after producers discovered that an endemic plant named Ephedra sinica could be used as an ingredient, Soykan said. 

A synthetic compound of multiple chemicals, meth production is a normally costly process that reportedly became cheaper with the integration of the plant, allowing for increased output in Afghanistan. 

Afghanistan's takeover by the Taliban also facilitated increased trade Soykan added, noting that Turkey is most likely on the route for the drug's transportation to Europe.

Mafia boss Sedat Peker also made a claim on Aug. 13 that meth is used in Turkey's western İstanbul, İzmit, Bursa and Isparta, alongside the capital Ankara, and southern Antalya, Adana and Kayseri, Soykan noted. 

The rate of drug offenders charged for meth use doubled between 2019 and 2020, Soykan added, noting that the number rose from 7.5 percent to 15.5 percent. 

"The number of persons detained in meth operations increased from 19,201 in 2018 to 32,445 in 2019, to almost 50,000 in 2020," Soykan said.

The amount of meth confiscated by Turkish police rose four-fold in 2020 from the year before, the columnist said: Some 566 kilos of meth were seized in 2018, doubling to 1 ton and 42 kilos in 2019 and spiking to 4 tons and 162 kilos in 2020.