Government and Western officials in Afghanistan have told the BBC there will be a much tougher approach towards drugs traffickers in the New Year.
The farmers have largely been the focus of the campaign so far
Despite a multi-million dollar British and US-led effort to stamp out the trade, the country still accounts for most of the world's illegal supplies.
But there has been criticism too little has been done to break up trafficking networks who make the biggest profits.
The focus instead has been placed on farmers who grow opium poppies.
According to those involved, the new approach will mean more arrests of traffickers and the replacement of some officials allegedly involved in the trade.
If this crackdown on Afghan drugs smugglers happens, it will suggest the beginnings of a change. There has been much talk in the past of going after them, but little action.
However, it is the traffickers who make the biggest profits from the illegal trade and arguably drive it - not the farmers who grow the opium that provides the raw material.
Yet it is the farmers who have largely been the focus of the British and US-led campaign to tackle the problem over the past two years.
But a Western official who is involved in such efforts said several key traffickers would be arrested in the next three months, who he described as mid-value targets.
"You can hold me to that," he told the BBC. He asked not to be identified because of the sensitive nature of his work.
Asked what mid-value meant, the official said individuals with international connections organising the transport of Afghan drugs to Eastern Europe and beyond - in other words, the most lucrative markets.
He denied this was a change in approach, saying the Afghan police and judiciary - including units specially trained for drugs work - had not been up to the task in the past.
What has also changed, the official said, was political will on the Afghan side.
There is greater determination now to go after higher-level figures in the drugs trade.
The only two major alleged drugs figures in custody so far are currently in America - one was arrested there, the other was extradited from Afghanistan two months ago.
And Afghan officials speaking separately say there are plans to remove several individuals from positions of power who have alleged drugs ties - including at least one provincial governor.
But much needs to be done, especially in this area.
The government openly admits that drugs-fuelled corruption within its ranks remains widespread.
And among the official figures still linked to the drugs trade are believed to be several members of the new Afghan parliament, due to hold its first session later this month.
However, there is also some concern at other measures that are being considered to tackle the drugs trade and which the government - with US backing - is trying to put in place before the parliament is up and running.
President Hamid Karzai's government is seeking to introduce a tough new counter-narcotics law, which will give police much greater powers including the use of wire-tapping.
The US government is closely involved in drafting the law. Some legal experts who have seen drafts have told the BBC they are concerned there are insufficient measures in place to stop police and other authorities abusing the new powers it will give them.
"These measures allow unprecedented powers and draconian punishments and could be applied in other areas," said one human rights expert, who asked to remain anonymous because of his position.
However, people involved in the process say the new law has not yet been finalised and discussions are still going on about imposing some restrictions on the use of the new law.