Monday, June 23, 2008

More Pain Relief Needed. Use Afghanistan's Opium.

On May 8, 2008, I met in Washington with a delegation of narcotics officers and prosecutors from Afghanistan who were guests of the United States Department of State to learn about American anti-drug policy.

In a tone that I hoped was sympathetic to the teachings of Islam, and the violence and political instability that surrounds the production of opium and heroin in Afghanistan, I criticized prohibition in general and American anti-drug policy in particular.

The delegation received my comments very favorably. In Q & A, I was asked about the requirement that the enormous quantities of opium seized by Afghani law enforcement must be destroyed. Why, I was asked, can the opium not be sold to legitimate pharmaceutical companies?

I noted that there is a global crisis of insufficient pain management. (The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times reported on the human suffering that this causes in September 2007). The World Health Organization has major efforts committed to address the cancer pain crisis.

I noted that the "Western powers" in the early 20th Century, as part of their economic domination of much of the rest of the world, created international legal organizations to determine which countries could grow opium and how much.

My recollection was that only India, Australia and Turkey are allowed to grow opium for the international trade. It is outrageous, I said, that the "Saudi Arabia of opium" can't sell its opium to international pharmaceutical firms at a time when there is an enormous unmet demand for pain relief, and Afghanistan's people and government need legitimate sources of revenue to rebuild their nation and establish security.

To my knowledge, the United Kingdom has not been a pharmaceutical opium producing country.
But according to the Daily Mail on June 23, 2008, the United Kingdom of Great Britain was recently permitted to start growing opium for the medical trade.

Why should this be permitted to the British farmers and not to Afghani farmers?
This new development should be seen by Afghanistan as a precedent to change the international agreements to permit Afghanistan to supply opium to the legitimate market.

Allowing such legal cultivation would be politically and economically devastating for the Taliban and their terrorist allies, al Qaeda. It would increase the supply of pain killers available to the seriously and terminally ill in the developing world. It would help restore peace and end hunger in Afghanistan. And it would also save lives of American and NATO soldiers in Afghanistan.

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1 comment:

ShelbSpeaks said...

NewsmaxTV's Ashley Martella reports that a man who underwent injection of his own immune cells has been in an astonishing amount of time!