Opium For Meds, Not Drugs

Posted on Monday, September 24 at 15:19 by Diogenes
According to an August 2007 United Nations report, opium cultivation for heroin is funding the insurgency in Afghanistan and has "soared to frightening record levels" this year. The report stated that the total opium harvest for Afghanistan has grown by a third since 2006 and that overall cultivation levels are at an all-time high for the second year in a row. Illegal poppy fields surround an Afghan National Police checkpoint in Kandahar, Afghanistan. An August 2007 Senlis Council report argued that a "poppy for medicine" program should be established in Afghanistan on a trial basis. The report claimed that a poll conducted across Canada indicated that 80 percent of the country would support such an initiative. Opium production by the numbers > Potential opium production in Afghanistan in 2001: 185 metric tonnes > Potential opium production in Afghanistan in 2003: 3,600 metric tonnes > Potential opium production in Afghanistan in 2006: 6,100 metric tonnes > Expected potential opium production for 2007: 8,200 metric tonnes > Percentage of Afghan population involved in opium-poppy cultivation: 14.3 > Percentage of world's opium produced in Afghanistan in 2007: 93 > Percentage drop in average price of fresh opium in U.S. from 2006 to 2007: nine Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Afghanistan Opium Survey 2007 . A poppy-for-medicine program would pay village collectives for morphine tablets made from cultivated opium poppies, McCormick explained. The Afghan government would license villages, where factories could then be built to produce morphine of an international pharmaceutical grade. "Eighty-two percent of the world's countries who can't afford morphine could start to buy it," he added. http://www.straight.com/node/110521/print [Proofreader’s note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on September 25, 2007]

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