As a result of high demand for
porcelain in Britain and the low demand for British commodities in China,
Britain had a large trade deficit with
China and had to trade goods for
silver as the
Chinese would only except silver in trade.
British exports of opium to China are an estimated 15 tons.
1757 Britain conquers
the Battle of Plassey. British East India Company pursues a monopoly on
production and export of opium in India.
Governor-General of Bengal pursues a
monopoly on the sale of opium in earnest, and abolishes the old opium syndicate
at Patna. For the next 50 years, opium is the key to the British East India
Company's hold on India.
As importation of opium into China was against
Chinese law, the British East India Company would buy tea in Canton on credit,
carrying no opium, but would instead sell opium for silver at the auctions in
Calcutta leaving it to be smuggled to China.
75 tons of opium is
shipped in over two thousand "chests", each containing 140 pounds (64 kg) of
opium. The British crown with it's surrogate, the corporate chartered British
East India Company, is directly responsible for the opium flood that leads to
the Opium Wars in China.
1874 Diacetylmorphine, a white,
odourless, bitter, crystalline powder derived from morphine is compounded by
English chemist, CR Wright.
1898 Bayer begins
marketing diacetylmorphine as Heroin - early testers said it made
them feel heroic.
Tuberculosis and pneumonia were then the leading
causes of death, and even routine coughs and colds could be severely
incapacitating. Heroin, which both depresses respiration and, as a sedative,
gives a restorative night's sleep, seemed a godsend.
There were heroin
pastilles, heroin cough lozenges, heroin tablets, water-soluble heroin salts
and a heroin elixir in a glycerine solution.
"It's not hypnotic, and there's no danger of acquiring a habit." - Boston
Medical and Surgical Journal
Medical Association gives heroin a stamp of approval.
1914 Heroin is restricted to prescription-only use in the
"In most cases, the CIA's role involved various
forms of complicity, tolerance or studied ignorance about the trade, not any
direct culpability in the actual trafficking. The CIA did not handle heroin,
but it did provide its drug-lord allies with transport, arms, and political
protection. In sum, the CIA's role in the Southeast Asian heroin trade involved
indirect complicity rather than direct culpability." - Alfred W. McCoy
"Our own spy agency is behind the killing of
thousands of American soldiers and civilians all over the world. They are also
responsible for continued Afghan opium production, as it has always served as
the primary funding source for CIA paramilitary operations there." - Peter
"Like Afghanistan, South Vietnam at the national
level was a massively corrupt collection of self-interested warlords, many of
them deeply implicated in the profitable opium trade, with almost nonexistent
legitimacy outside the capital city. The purely military gains achieved at such
terrible cost in our nation's blood and treasure in Vietnam never came close to
exhausting the enemy's manpower pool or his will to fight, and simply could not
be sustained politically by a venal and incompetent set of dysfunctional state
institutions where self-interest was the
order of the day." - Peter Dale Scott
1979 The Soviets invade Afghanistan.
1980 Afghanistan produces 200 metric tons of
1980s the CIA working through
Inter-Service Intelligence(ISI), spends $2 billion to support the
Mujahideen Afghan resistance. Within two years
Pakistan-Afghanistan borderlands became the world's top heroin producer. In
the heroin-addict population goes from near zero in 1979 to 5,000 in 1981 and
to 1.2 million by 1985.
As the Mujahideen guerrillas territorial control
increased more and more farmers planted opium poppies as cash crops. Across the
border in Pakistan,
Afghan leaders and local syndicates under the protection of Pakistan's
Inter-Services Intelligence operated hundreds of heroin laboratories to
generate cash which they used to purchase weapons to fight the Soviets.
The CIA helps facilitate distribution, even
going so far as to squelch DEA investigations. Once the heroin left Pakistan's
laboratories, the Sicilian mafia
managed its export to the US, and a chain of syndicate-controlled pizza parlors
distributed the drugs to street gangs in American cities. Most ordinary
Americans did not see the links between the CIA's alliance with Afghan drug
lords, the pizza parlors, and the heroin on America's streets.
are powerful business and financial interests behind narcotics. Geopolitical
and military control over the drug routes is as strategic as oil and oil
pipelines. The bulk of the revenues associated with the
trade in narcotics are not appropriated by terrorist groups and warlords.
Narcotics constitute a major source of wealth formation not only for organized
crime but also for the US intelligence apparatus, which increasingly
constitutes a powerful actor in the spheres of finance and banking.
Intelligence agencies, powerful business, drug traders and organized crime are
competing for the strategic control over the heroin routes. A large share of
this multi-billion dollar revenues of narcotics are deposited in the Western
banking system. Most of the large international banks
together with their affiliates in the offshore banking havens launder large
amounts of narco-dollars." - Michel Chossudovsky
2000 The opium trade had been denounced as immoral by the
Taliban and would not be permitted. This was facilitated by a $90 million
downpayment on the rights to an oil pipeline deal.
2001 Launch Operation Enduring Freedom
2004 The United Nations estimates that Afghanistan produce 87%
of the world opium.
2006 Afghanistan produces
6,724 metric tons of opium - more than 30 times as much opium as in 1980 ~
448,000 Afghan families cultivate opium poppies. United Nations anti-drug chief
announces a staggering increase in Afghani opium production of 60% over 2005.
"Opium production has grown exponentially since 2001 as much as 60%
of the country's GDP is either generated by or dependent on it. As many as 90%
of Afghanistan's police chiefs are reportedly involved in or protecting the
drug trade." - Chris Mason, formerly an Afghanistan policy officer at the State
Department from 2001 through 2005; senior fellow at the Center for Advanced
The Afghan minister of counter narcotics General
Khodaidad Khodaidad claims the majority of drugs are stockpiled in two
provinces controlled by troops from the US, the UK, and Canada.
2007 9000 metric tons of opium are grown.
House says it believes that Ahmed Wali Karzai is involved in drug
trafficking, and American officials have repeatedly warned President Karzai
that his brother is a political liability, two senior Bush administration
officials said in interviews last week." - James Risen, October 4, 2008
2009 It is learned that Ahmed Wali Karzai has
been on the CIA payroll since the invasion.
"Ahmed Wali Karzai is the
biggest drug baron of Afghanistan. What is most disturbing from my point of
view is that the military aircraft, American military aircraft are also being
used." - ISI General Hamid Gul
drug traffickers in military uniforms were caught transporting heroin in a
police truck in 2007, it was a victory for a dogged team of Afghan
investigators and their US mentors who are waging a Quixotic battle against
narcotics, the nation's largest industry. The men were prosecuted by a special
drug court that the US government has spent tens of millions of dollars
developing as a bulwark against corruption. They were sentenced to between 16
and 18 years in prison. But in April, Afghan president
Karzai pardoned the five men. One was the nephew of a powerful politician
managing Karzai's reelection campaign, and the presidential decree ordering
their release notes that they had ties to a well-respected family, according to
a senior Afghan official." - Farah Stockman July 3,
"The Afghan people are rebelling because the American
government is currently committed to destroying 60% of their economy. In the
name of the "war on drugs," an American corporation,
DynCorp, is being paid to
barge into the fields of some of the poorest people on Earth and systematically
destroy their only livelihood. A quarter of all Afghan babies die before their
fifth birthday. If Western governments continue this program of economic
destruction - and the negative propaganda bonanza it creates -
the Taliban may be
sufficiently rejuvenated to march on Kabul. There is an alternative to this
disastrous spiral. The Earth is
suffering from a shortage
of legal opiates.
The World Health Organization describes it as "an unprecedented global
pain crisis." About 80% of the Earth's population has almost no access to
painkillers at all. In developed countries, for cancer care alone there is an
unmet annual need for 550 metric tons more opium to make opium. Instead of
destroying Afghanistan's most valuable resource, Western governments should buy
it outright and resell it to producers of legal opiate-based painkillers on the
global market. Both Turkey and India produce opium as legal suppliers of
opiates for pain-control
purposes. Add Afghanistan to the legal opium producers and
would be conquered." - Johann Hari
OxyContin® is oxycodone,
an opioid analgesic medication synthesized from thebaine. Thebaine
(paramorphine) is an opiate alkaloid. A minor constituent of opium, thebaine is
chemically similar to both
In May of 2007
Purdue Pharma executives plead guilty to charges that they mislead the
government about the risk of addiction to OxyContin®. Purdue Pharma claimed
oxycodone was less addictive and less subject to abuse than other opiates.
Purdue Pharma, its president, top lawyer and former chief medical officer will
pay $634.5 million in fines. In 2004, 36,000 people made emergency room visits
due to oxycodone overdoses.
"From 1996 to 2001, the number of
nationwide increased 400 percent while the annual number of OxyContin®
prescriptions increased nearly 20-fold, according to a report by the United
States Drug Enforcement Administration. In 2002, the DEA said the drug caused
146 deaths and contributed to another 318." - International
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American social mores and values have declined precipitously over
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