Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mark Easton - The mystery of the missing opium

"It's a mystery that has got British law enforcement officials and others across the planet scratching their heads. Put bluntly, enough heroin to supply the world's demand for years has simply disappeared."

Mark Easton has an excellent blog on an issue that no one else appears to have even clocked. He's clearly got the bit between his teeth on failing drug policy. This is precisely the kind of piece that helps the policy climate change we have talked about before.

See also this piece in today's Indie: The Big Question: Why is opium production rising in Afghanistan, and can it be stopped?

From Mark Easton's blog:

Theory 1: A large and undocumented market has opened up in countries which don't want to admit the problem. Russia has long been in denial over the scale of its heroin problem and the same may be true in emerging drug markets like Iran, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.

Theory 2: Vast quantities of heroin and morphine are being stockpiled. Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UNODC is convinced that is the only explanation. In a recent bulletin he issues an urgent order: 'Find the missing opium.' "As a priority, intelligence services need to examine who holds this surplus, where it may go, and for what purpose" he says. "We know little about these stockpiles of drugs, besides that they are not in the hands of farmers."

1 comment:

chris said...

I was disturbed by a BBC report that opium factories will now be targeted by NATO. In the dishonest rhetoric of the WoD, a drug factory can be a few cannabis plants, so I assumed this meant that they would be attacking opium growers and enquired whether this was the case.

The story was then changed to emphasise that opium labs would be targeted. I queried whether they meant heroin labs (i.e. temporary arrangements where people with relevant knowledge, chemicals and equipment produce heroin from morphine base).

I further queried whether this meant that they would be attacking villages having received reliable info that there was a heroin lab there (an absurd proposition, perhaps, but see US justification for bombing wedding parties etc.).

I'm left with the impression that NATO just wanted to expand the rules of engagement to provide cover for a stepping up of the military campaign.