As a result of
high demand for tea, silk
and 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.
Lost during the Ottoman
conquest of Constantinople is the specific formula of
an opium-based elixir ascribed to
alchemists of Byzantium.
Paracelsus is a licensed
physician in Basel with the privilege of lecturing at the University of
refers to an opium-based elixir that he calls laudanum from the Latin
word laudare, meaning "to praise".
His liquid laudanum contained
the juice of oranges and lemons, cloves, ambergris and saffron, all mixed into
a wine-tincture of opium.
He describes it as a potent painkiller
recommending it be used sparingly.
Paracelsus had a natural affinity
with Hermetic, Neoplatonic, and Pythagorean philosophies central to the
Renaissance, a world-view exemplified by Marsilio Ficino and Pico della
1620 Opium dissolved in wine and
scented with saffron, cinnamon and cloves is called laudanum.
tincture form - mixed with licorice, honey, benzoic acid, camphor and anise oil
- is known as paregoric.
United Company of Merchants of
England Trading to the East Indies opens a trading station in Canton
importing opium and tobacco into China.
The British desire silk.
The Chinese will only take silver
bullion in trade for silk.
British silver reserves become depleted.
The British start importing opium
from India and obtain an opium monopoly by 1773 which continued virtually
unchanged until 1947.
By only excepting silver in exchange for opium
British silver reserves are restored.
Rising opium use in China prompts an imperial edict that forbides
the sale of opium for smoking purposes.
British exports of opium to China are an estimated 15
Britain conquers Bengal in
the Battle of
British East India Company pursues a monopoly on
production and export of opium in India.
1773 East India Company murders its way into an
Bengal pursues a
monopoly on the sale of
opium in earnest, and abolishes the old opium syndicate at Patna.
Opium is the key to East India
Company control for the next 50 years as importation of opium into China is
against Chinese law.
British East India Company
begins abrogating Chinese law by selling opium for silver at the auctions in
Calcutta leaving it to be smuggled
The British Crown chartered British East India Company, is
directly responsible for the opium flood that leads to the Opium Wars in
1797 Immanuel Kant warns: Opium produces a
"dreamy euphoria" that makes one "silent, reticent, and withdrawn," he states
inMetaphysics of Morals, "therefore permitted only" for medical
1799 East India Company
agency houses including Jardine, Matheson & Co and Dent &
Co import amounts averaging 900 tons of opium per year.
1800 Serious users debated
the merits of their favorite
Batleys Sedative Solution, Mother Baileys
Godfeys Cordial, Dalbys
McMunns Elixir and the potent
Kendal Black Drop, craved by Coleridge.
1804 Morphine, the
first active alkaloid, is extracted from the opium poppy plant in Paderborn,
Germany, by Friedrich Sertürner.
Strychnine alkaloid extracted.
French physician Francois Magendie published a paper describing morphine
bringing pain relief and sleep to an ailing young girl.
1820 Caffeine alkaloid extracted.
1821 "What an upheaving, from its lowest depths, of the inner
spirit! What an apocalypse of the world within me!" - Thomas De Quincey,
Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
Nicotine alkaloid extracted.
East India Company murders its way into an opium monopoly in Bombay.
British become the major drug-traffickers in the world.
1838 With the amount of smuggled opium entering
China rapidly increasing the Chinese impose a
death penalty for opium
smuggling and send a Special Imperial Commissioner, Lin Zexu, to curb
1839 First Opium War begins.
1842 Hong Kong is ceded to Britain under the
Treaty of Nanking and the Chinese market opens to the opium traders of Britain
and other nations.
Elias Sassoon arrives in Shanghai.
To expand the family opium business
globally, David Sassoon has
strategically deployed his eight sons to far-flung global trading
As members of royalty the Sassoon family is instrumental in
1854 First reliable syringes developed by
Alexander Wood in Edinburgh combined a functional syringe with a hypodermic
needle to inject morphine which becomes a standard procedure during and after
A history of syringes and needles
1856 Second Opium War begins.
Fought by Britain and France against
During the second Opium War, Lord Elgin,
the British High Commissioner to China, takes 3,500 British troops to set the
entire Old Summer Palace ablaze.
Treaty of Tientsin legalised the
importation of opium.
Legalisation stimulates domestic Chinese opium
production and increased the importation of opium from
a substantial part of the addicted Victorian population, and were, as a rule,
more medicated than men.
"A man in South Lincolnshire complained that
his wife had spent £100 on opium since he married." - Dr. Julian
1864 Barbituric acid is
synthesized by Adolf von Baeyer.
| Clandestine labs
synthesize large quantities of cheap, pure
increased sedative potency is perceived as strong heroin.
risk of fentanyl overdose is particularly greater for opiate-naïve users,
and even in those with a tolerance for heroin..
1874 Diacetylmorphine, a white, odourless, bitter,
crystalline powder derived
from morphine is compounded by English chemist, CR Wright.
1878 The Opium Act recognizes the role of opium as a
cornerstone of the British imperial economic policy in the Far East.
opium-user in the Victorian period is a profoundly ordinary woman.
1880 Dr. H.H. Kane's The Hypodermic Injection of
Morphia lists over 50 diseases for which morphine could be useful,
everything from tuberculosis, pneumonia and diabetes to nymphomania,
vaginusmus, prenatal nausea and insanity.
William Stewart Halsted numbs an entire limb by the precise injection of
cocaine into the nerve supplying it.
Precision and delicacy are his
He used deft, light, sparing motions with the surgical
blades, keeping tissue damage and bleeding to a minimum.
A founder of
the John's Hopkins Medical School, having a supply was pure and nearly
limitless, lived the last 30 years of his life as a daily user of
William Stewart Halsted's medical contributions lie in three
areas: the perfection of local anesthesia, the concept of operating-room
asepsis, and as the "father of modern surgery."
alkaloid extracted by Arthur Heffter.
Bayer begins marketing
diacetylmorphine as " Heroin - early testers said it made them feel
Freud penned a white paper for Bayer stating that
diacetylmorphine would cure morphine and
and pneumonia are the
leading causes of death.
Morphine is being used to treat tuberculosis
and doctors want a drug with fewer side effects.
Fear of pneumonia made
routine coughs and colds severely incapacitating.
Dreser and his
colleague, Dr. Floret, prescribed heroin to workers at the Bayer
Anyone who suffered from a persistent cough was welcome to try
the new drug free of cost.
An anteroom with long wooden benches where
workers wait to see the doctor; stolid, hardworking German citizens whose
coughing and hacking produce a constant din; one at a time they go into the
inner examination chamber and place their mouths on the glass tubing and suck.
Dr. Floret asks them to roll up their sleeves; he gives them a quick
jab with the hypodermic needle and shortly the remorseless, clawing need to
Then the men are then retested.
Even in very ill
patients, there is a marked improvement in lung function.
Heroin, which both
depresses respiration and, as a
sedative, gives a
restorative night's sleep, seemed a godsend.
Dreser suggests heroin be
employed in a program of "preventive or protective therapy" to decrease the
"air hunger" of those suffering from pneumonia.
Dreser's article in the
Therapeutische Monatschefte presented at the 70th Congress of German
Naturalists and Physicians at Dusseldorf focus' entirely on diseases of
the lungs and respiratory passages.
There were Heroin pastilles,
Heroin cough lozenges, Heroin
tablets, water-soluble Heroin salts and a Heroin elixir in a
Heroin - trademarked Bayer medicine
Bayer Promoted Heroin for Children
"It's not hypnotic, and there's no
danger of acquiring a habit." - Boston Medical and Surgical
Sears and Roebuck offers two ounces of laudanum ("directions
on each bottle for young and old") for 18¢ by mail order, or 1-½
pints for $2 dollars.
Their paregoric ("always useful for children and
adults") is available for 12¢.
A standard syringe kit for injecting
herion is $1.50 and a deluxe model of $2.75.
As long as the opiates were
taken orally, the term "appetite" seemed appropriate to described the desire
for the drug.
With the popularity of the needle, "appetite" was
supplanted by "habit."
"If the body is the society in miniature, then a
device that readily penetrates the boundaries,
makes a mockery of
the skin border, and can
easily drive a potent intoxicating substance deep into the recesses of the body
is an excellent symbol for impurity and pollution on the cultural level." -
Thomas A. Metzger
James Anders and James French both note that heavy
morphine use was more common among women than men.
anonymous women were life-long opium habitues.
American newspapers inflamed fears and hatred with lurid
descriptions of white girls falling under the spell of opium.
opium smokers were people of means: socialites, theatrical folk, financiers and
Though the habit was frequently associated with
the criminal underclass until the early 20th century it was a gentleman's vice.
1907 American Medical
Association gives Heroin a stamp of approval.
1912 Bayer introduces
phenobarbital, Luminal, as a sedative/hypnotic.
used for physician-assisted suicide in combination with a muscle relaxant for
euthanasia and in capital punishment by lethal injection.
are euthanizing agents in small-animal veterinary
Phenobarbital was mainly prescribed for use as
Barbiturates speed sleep, reduce
REM sleep and increase total
Barbiturates act as positive allosteric modulators and, at
higher doses, as agonists of GABAA receptors.
block AMPA and kainate receptors, subtypes of ionotropic glutamate
Barbiturates are included here as they have the same effects as
Heroin as far as respiratory depression of the autonomous sytem and brain
Barbiturates can cause a depression of the medullary
The respiratory center receives input from
chemoreceptors, mechanoreceptors, the cerebral cortex, and the
hypothalamus in order to
regulate the rate and depth of breathing.
Input is stimulated by
altered levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide, blood pH and hormonal changes
relating to stress and anxiety from the
from the cerebral cortex create conscious control of respiration.
critical brain site in respiratory depression is believed to be the
preBötzinger Complex, where the breathing rhythm originates.
70140 neurons in this region are responsible for autonomous breathing.
1914 Heroin is restricted to
prescription only use in the US.
"In most cases, the CIA's role involved
various forms of complicity, tolerance or
ignorance about the trade, not any direct culpability in the actual
The CIA did not handle Heroin, but it did provide
its drug-lord allies with transport, arms, and political protection.
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.
are also responsible for continued Afghan opium production, as it has always
served as the primary funding source for CIA paramilitary operations there." -
"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
1970 Controlled Substances Act
I Heroin, cannabis,
Schedule II amobarbital, pentobarbital, and
Schedule III all
Schedule IV barbital,
methylphenobarbital (also known as mephobarbital), and
1971 Vienna Convention on
Schedule II secobarbital,
Schedule III amobarbital, butalbital,
cyclobarbital, and pentobarbital
allobarbital, barbital, butobarbital, mephobarbital, phenobarbital,
butabarbital, and vinylbital
1979 The Soviets
enter Kabul on December 25, five months after
Operation Cyclone begins,
to install a pro-Moscow government.
1980 Afghanistan produces 200 metric tons of opium.
Throughout the 1980s the CIA working through Pakistan Inter-Service
Intelligence(ISI), spends $2 billion to support the Afghan mujahideen
Within two years the Pakistan-Afghanistan
borderlands became the world's top Heroin producer.
population goes from near zero in 1979 to 5,000 in 1981 and to 1.2 million
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 squelching DEA
the Heroin left labs in Pakistan, 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.
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.
"There are powerful business and
financial interests behind narcotics.
Geopolitical and military control
over the drug routes is as strategic as oil and oil pipelines.
of the revenues associated with the global trade in narcotics are not
appropriated by terrorist groups and warlords.
Narcotics constitute a major source of wealth
formation for national intelligence agencies,
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
Most of the large international banks
together with their affiliates in the offshore banking havens launder large
amounts of narco-dollars." - Michel Chossudovsky
1999 Journalist Ann Marlowe's How to Stop Time: Heroin from
A to Z fragmented reflections on her seven years as a heroin addict provide
further insight into a world illuminated by such works as Jim Carroll's The
Basketball Diaries and William S. Burroughs's Junkie.
series of short essays, each categorized alphabetically under such headers as
'first time', 'narcosis' and 'sacrifice'.
Under the entry 'god' she
writes: "Addiction creates a god so that time will stop - why all gods are
The opium trade is denounced
immoral by the Taliban
Taliban bank $90 million downpayment on the rights to
an oil pipeline
2001 Launch Operation Enduring
2004 UN estimates Afghanistan produces
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.
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,
State Department, Center
for Advanced Defense Studies
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
2007 9000 metric tons of opium are
2008 "The White 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
"When five 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 Hamid 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, 2009
"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
a shortage of legal opiates.
Organization describes "an unprecedented global pain crisis."
of the Earth's population has almost no access to painkillers at all.
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
Türkey and India produce opium as legal suppliers
of opiates for pain-control purposes.
Add Afghanistan to the legal
opium producers." - 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
morphine and codeine.
"From 1996 to 2001, the number of oxycodone-related deaths nationwide
increased 400% 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 Herald
2004 36,000 people make ER visits due
to oxycodone overdoses.
May of 2007 Purdue Pharma
executives plead guilty to charges that they mislead the government about the
risk of addiction to OxyContin®.
oxycodone was less addictive and less subject to abuse.
- president, lawyer, chief
medical officer - agree to pay $634.5 million in fines.
Pharma is taking advantage of patent law to keep OxyContin from
Politics of Heroin and the Afghan Pullout
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