In this interview with Collectors Weekly, opium antiques expert Steven Martin talks about How Collecting Opium Antiques Turned Me Into an Opium Addict.
Recreate a part of history in High Tea, a game where you trade Indian opium in China to supply tea to England. Part of the High Society exhibit at Wellcome Collection. [more inside]
While most of the attention in the war on drugs has been focused on Mexico of late, the opium trade in Afghanistan is still alive. Though perhaps not as well this year, as Tajikistan reports far less opium crossing the border, attributed to more use within Afghanistan as well as an unexplained poppy blight. With yields dropping and prices rising, US-backed efforts to encourage farmers to grow alternate crops (previously) may be derailed, despite a trade agreement with Pakistan which promises to open the country's borders to more trade in legitimate consumer goods with India. Meanwhile, people are looking into ways to turn the poppy fields into biofuels.
Poppy For Medicine. "America's drug war in Afghanistan has been a miserable failure. So why not legalize opium production and let Afghanistan become the Saudi Arabia of morphine?"
The poppy is bitterly ironic this Remembrance Day. Borrowed from John McRae's classic In Flanders' Fields, the poppy has shifted from a symbolic meaning to the central subject of an ongoing conflict. As international intervention in Afghanistan continues, opium production has reached record-breaking heights, with this single country now producing 90% of the world's total supply (utterly dwarfing global licit supply). Meanwhile, the world suffers a global opiate shortage(pdf), Canada's heroin maintenance project is threatened by politics, and the National Review of Medicine suggests that prescription opiates are far more dangerous than the "usual suspects".
So how's the War on Drugs proceeding in Afghanistan? Barry McCaffrey, former drug czar, trumpets, "Opium production has been dramatically slashed by 48% just in the past year.". Oops, actually that's the acreage of opium cultivation; production went down by only 10%, due to increased yields. In any case, that's so last year. Instead of the socially detrimental policy of poppy eradication, wouldn't it be preferable to allow licensing of poppies for legitimate medical needs? The Afghan farmers agree, but some think the idea is flawed.
Drugs on the Rez. It's a hell of a life going from utter poverty, where your mom gets you drunk so you'll stop complaining about being hungry, to being able to buy your kids toys with $100 accessories and sending them to private schools, to going back to literally not having a quarter to call your dad. In this case, the money came from Canadian oxycontin. It's not just Native Americans who are targeted by the authorities. It's also Indians. There's a pretty good newish book on the subject of black markets, Illicit. Laos' opium market is apparently gone -- in favor of meth and Afghanistan's market is black in name only, so why keep up the facade?
Confessions of an EBay opium addict - Like anyone trolling the Internet at 4 a.m., I had been looking for some kind of temporary drug fix. I found it on eBay under Crafts>Floral Supplies>Flowers, Foliage>Dried. (via Alternet)
Well known for speaking the truth about governments and getting pressured for it [7th paragraph from the top], Alain Labrousse recently published his Dictionnaire géopolitique des drogues [Geopolitical Dictionary of Drugs]. I don't think it's been translated in English yet, but all his previous works have, so I'm sure an English version is on the way. His latest book is being well received by everyone who's interested in "open source" information about drugs, particularly how the various national economies profit from them. A recent review [in French], cites one example of twisted international relations concerning drugs [my translation]: Europe speaks no evil about activities in Morocco, the most important source of cannabis in the world, or in Turkey, where scores of laboratories transform afghan opium into heroin, simply because these two countries provide a frontline of resistance to radical Islam. In North America, in Mexico, the United States tolerated for 70 years the Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional - PRI), even though its leaders supported, and even chose mexican drug cartels. Geostrategic interests outweigh the most basic needs of the war against drugs.
Afghanistan leads in poppy production Now that we have rid the country of the nasty controlling party, it is good to return to normal business so that exports can help make this a better world. Is this a part of our re-construction plan?
"Dude, Where's My Lawyer?" Note to self: Leave 3,600 grams of opium (allegedly) at home.
Taliban say they underminded the US economy by halting opium production. ``It's known in select circles.. that opium is more influential than oil in terms of its economic role in America in particular and the West as a whole,''