Reply Mon 16 Oct, 2006 04:09 pm
in an article in toronto's "globe and mail" newspaper , John Polanyi , a Nobel laureate and member of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto , recommends that afghanistan farmers be allowed(you might even say "be encouraged") to grow poppies (opium) legally .
he argues that there is a shortage of painkilling medication , particularly in poor , third world countries , and that afghanistan could supply the needed poppies at a lower price than commercially produced painkillers .
i saw the interview he gave on CBC-TV recently and he seems to know what he is talking about .
as he put it : "the afghan farmer has to make a living to feed his - often large - family . we can force him to produce the poppies illegally and feed into the illegal drug market or we can buy the poppies from him and help provide pain-killing drugs ."

as i posted sometime ago , countries such as :france , australia and india are permitted to grow poppies legally for the production of drugs - why not allow the afghan farmers the same privilege ?
have a look at the article and see if you agree with him or not .

from the article :
"Traffic in morphine and codeine is licensed by the International Narcotics Control Board. The INCB points out that the richest nations (the United States, United Kingdom, France, Japan, Germany, Australia and Canada) consume nearly all of the world's opiates, leaving 80 per cent of the globe's population virtually without.

Could opiates made from Afghan poppies make up the shortfall, if the INCB were to license growing there, as it does in France, India and Turkey? Undoubtedly. Meeting the global demand for pain medication has been estimated to require about double the current Afghan production. Maia Szalavitz, a senior fellow at Stats, a media watchdog group, has estimated the cost of buying the entire Afghan poppy crop at the current market price, set today by Afghan drug lords, as about $600-million -- less than the $780-million the United States budgeted last year for eradication.

It's important to remember that buying poppies for legal use sends a different message to the Afghan people than destroying their livelihood to prevent illegal use. Legal traffic is, at once, more profitable for farmers, who need no longer buy protection. It is hugely more profitable in the long run, since it allows citizens to share in the benefits of a stable, law-based society -- the very thing that we, our NATO allies, and the elected government of Afghanistan, are seeking to achieve. "


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Reply Tue 17 Oct, 2006 03:58 pm
i interpret your comments as "definetely , maybe" !
or : "perhaps , but not definetely" !
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Merry Andrew
Reply Tue 17 Oct, 2006 04:06 pm
Yeah, I agree. The problem with poppy cultivation isn't the growing of the crop itself. The problem is oversight and marketing. Opiates have legitimate medicinal uses. Unfortunately, the product of the papver somniferum plant has far more monetary value on the black market than when sold to legitimate pharmaceutical manufacturers.
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Reply Tue 17 Oct, 2006 06:11 pm
Hamburger, I agree too.

Thanks for the article and the background - I read both.
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Reply Tue 17 Oct, 2006 06:18 pm
It' a good idea. There would be problems though. The criminal element that currently buy the crop are still going to try and get their hands on it, so the crops would need to be guarded. That's going to cost a fair bit and probably result in bloodshed.
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Reply Wed 18 Oct, 2006 09:37 am
i wonder how much the afghani farmer is currently being paid by the overlords for the poppy crop ?
i suspect that the farmer isn't getting much more than keep him and his family from starving - but i better try and find out because i have no idea what this stuff costs .
even if the cost of buying the poppy crop and providing security for the poppy farmer would be higher than the current costs of the war , it would still be worth it imo , because :
- all farmers could share in the money ,
- drugs would be available for third world countries ,
- (hopefully) farmers would not be in as much danger than at present - when they may be attacked by both the druglords and the occupying forces .

now , i'm not as deluded as to be believe that it would stop or even reduce the need for "illicit" drugs (i wonder who coined that phrase ?) .
there must be a better way to supply drugs or an equivalent to users .
if one looks back throughout history , drugs have always been used and i can't see why that should change now (will education help ? it seems to have reduced tobacco use somewhat ) , but there is no reason why anyone should die by the gun because he/she is a drug user .

reading british stories from the 1850's , there are tales of the poor giving their babies a bottle of sweetened water with a drop of opium to keep them quiet while the parents were working .
the parents were too poor to buy milk it seems .

the way things are now in afghanistan , the allied troops go in to defeat the warlords . some poppy crops are being destroyed ; the warlords move back in and the whole process is repeated - on the back of the poor farmer .
that is a useless and senseless process imo .
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