Should We Say “Maybe” to Drugs in Afghanistan?

Afghan PoppiesThere’s a global morphine shortage in the west (while the Taliban is financing terrorism through black-market opium). So for over a year, a mainstream journalist for both Information Week and Library Journal has been contacting Congressmen about the “Sustainable Opportunities for Rural Afghans Act.” (“Whereas granting rural Afghan farming families an economic ally other than the Taliban is good for the national security of the United States…”)

Basically, the act would allow American pharmaceutical companies to buy opium from the farmers in Afghanistan — and even offer aid and bonuses to the farmers to deter their cooperation with the Taliban (before eventually transitioning them to other crops). “Action has been nil and talk has been quiet,” the reporter writes, even though it could help efforts to “defeat, disrupt, and dismantle” al Qaeda and its allies.

“As we press our advantage after the death of bin Laden, it seems reasonable to use every available tool toward our stated goal.”

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  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    I would cheer the idea…but I think it would probably end up out of the hands of big pharma and getting shipped in unmarked aircraft into the US to start a new ‘opium craze’ for the 21st century in the hopes of keeping the drug war alive and keeping millions mellow instead of fighting for their rights. Basically a replay of the 20th century.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    I would cheer the idea…but I think it would probably end up out of the hands of big pharma and getting shipped in unmarked aircraft into the US to start a new ‘opium craze’ for the 21st century in the hopes of keeping the drug war alive and keeping millions mellow instead of fighting for their rights. Basically a replay of the 20th century.

  • The_Baffler

    Nah. Satan is too busy urging his loyal Christian followers to kill brown people.

  • Anonymous

    Nah. Satan is too busy urging his loyal Christian followers to kill brown people.

  • MoralDrift

    We need to do something to bring down the level of cognitive dissonance when it comes to Drug war/Real war. I always found it appalling that we fight a “drug war” yet in our Real war, “we cant be bothered to eradicate opium production” it just goes to show that the whole thing is a crock of shit. This would lower the bullshit level slightly, but I just dont see it really working out. The sooner we leave Afghan Land the better but I am not holding my breath.

  • Anonymous

    We need to do something to bring down the level of cognitive dissonance when it comes to Drug war/Real war. I always found it appalling that we fight a “drug war” yet in our Real war, “we cant be bothered to eradicate opium production” it just goes to show that the whole thing is a crock of shit. This would lower the bullshit level slightly, but I just dont see it really working out. The sooner we leave Afghan Land the better but I am not holding my breath.

  • mole_face

    Opiates are the only legitimate painkillers in existence – over the counter analgesics essentially do nothing for significant pain. 

    For all the bullshit right wing rhetoric about wanting “smaller government” and more personal responsibility, people still ascribe magical powers to illegal drugs. People need to take responsibility for their own addictions. The disease model is blatantly illogical. No matter how difficult it is to abstain, it’s still technically a choice to consume drugs, even once you’re horribly physically addicted. Unless you’re dealing with some sort of complex involuntary muscle spasm that forces your hand to put the drug in your mouth and  then forces you to swallow, it’s still a choice. 

    Because junkies make the irresponsible choice to start taking those drugs every day for long periods, millions of people in pain should be deprived of the option to take them? That makes no sense. People being hurt by their own poor choices is far lesser of an evil than people in pain being deprived of having a choice in the first place..

    • Butter Knife

      I’m going to take it a step further, and submit that drug prohibition causes more problems than it solves *even for the drug addicts*. If a person is addicted to heroin, they do not benefit from the lack of legal, trustworthy sources for the drug nor from being criminals by definition. If the concern is that drug addicts might commit other crimes to feed their addictions, then it should suffice to punish them for those crimes. If the concern is that drug addicts will become sick or injured, and require medical assistance, then it should suffice to address their health issues in some meaningful way.

      As for the validity of using the disease model for addiction… in terms of actually addressing the issue that’s what works. Addiction is just one more way to hurt yourself by doing something stupid: whether or not we treat it as a disease is pretty much irrelevant.

    • Guest

      Happen to have any addicts or alcoholics in your family?  Because you sound awfully hellbent and angry.  

      Everything you say makes *logical* sense, but I am going to come to the addicts defense here.  Yes, there is no doubt taking drugs is a personal choice.  Either you take it and deal with the consequences or you don’t.  Fine.  However, once an addiction is established, sometimes the consequence for making the choice NOT to use the drug any more can be lethal.  This is true for heroin/morphine/any type of opiate user and is also true for alcoholics who have drank for so long that DTs would literally kill them if they tried to stop on their own or made the choice, like you say, to just not anymore.  

      Also, I disagree as far as the disease model being “illogical.”  You cannot tell a REAL addict or a REAL alcoholic that they have a choice to use or not use and they must deal with the consequence.  No matter how many times an addict uses drugs and loses their job, rips family and friend relationships apart, does a number on their health, etc THE DISEASE still tells them they still have no choice in the matter and cannot possibly imagine the rest of their life without their vice.  The DISEASE is what keeps the blindfold over their eyes so they cannot see that any of this is actually affecting them or anybody around them.  It is a serious, self-punishing malady.  It is insanity… repeating the same thing over and over, only to get the very same results of all the previous attempts, yet still bound and determined to be “stronger” and “more in control” over the drug.  It’s the same as placing your hand on a hot stove, repeatedly.  It is insane.  It is a disease.  Nobody in their “right mind,” fully aware of how it affects them and everyone else would choose to continue that behavior.  People are NOT innately BAD.  We all have the best intentions… just sometimes we are blind. 

      And “junkies” are not to blame for opiate-based painkillers not being more widely available.  They are still controlled substances, the last time I checked, and those are not sold over the counter.  So, who are these “millions of people in pain” that are going without pain medication?  Can you back that up or do you just think “junkies” aren’t paying enough already for the harm they are causing you?  

      • Jin The Ninja

        i totally agree. thank you for bringing a holistic perspective into the debate.

    • MoralDrift

      opiate addiction becomes physical, anyone on opiates long enough will become addicted, although kicking the habit is up to the individual. people should develop alternative pain management techniques

  • fuzzgun

    Opiates are the only legitimate painkillers in existence – over the counter analgesics essentially do nothing for significant pain. 

    For all the bullshit right wing rhetoric about wanting “smaller government” and more personal responsibility, people still ascribe magical powers to illegal drugs. People need to take responsibility for their own addictions. The disease model is blatantly illogical. No matter how difficult it is to abstain, it’s still technically a choice to consume drugs, even once you’re horribly physically addicted. Unless you’re dealing with some sort of complex involuntary muscle spasm that forces your hand to put the drug in your mouth and  then forces you to swallow, it’s still a choice. 

    Because junkies make the irresponsible choice to start taking those drugs every day for long periods, millions of people in pain should be deprived of the option to take them? That makes no sense. People being hurt by their own poor choices is far lesser of an evil than people in pain being deprived of having a choice in the first place..

  • O. Spengler

    Afghan heroin serves US interests by destabilizing societies in Russia, Iran and the Central Asian republics.

    • MoralDrift

      we always have it out for the russians,

      is it because they are the only unified nation that compares as far as land mass, natural resources, and nukes?

    • weed4theplanet

      And putting a ton of $ in big pharms and the gov’ts pockets. You know their thinkin about it for the billions. They don’t give a shit about people or anything else. All bout the money. 

  • O. Spengler

    Afghan heroin serves US interests by destabilizing societies in Russia, Iran and the Central Asian republics.

  • Butter Knife

    I’m going to take it a step further, and submit that drug prohibition causes more problems than it solves *even for the drug addicts*. If a person is addicted to heroin, they do not benefit from the lack of legal, trustworthy sources for the drug nor from being criminals by definition. If the concern is that drug addicts might commit other crimes to feed their addictions, then it should suffice to punish them for those crimes. If the concern is that drug addicts will become sick or injured, and require medical assistance, then it should suffice to address their health issues in some meaningful way.

    As for the validity of using the disease model for addiction… in terms of actually addressing the issue that’s what works. Addiction is just one more way to hurt yourself by doing something stupid: whether or not we treat it as a disease is pretty much irrelevant.

  • KxBk6U

    This wouldn’t be in our government’s best interest. If they subsidize the poppy farmers, dismantle al Qaeda, close the foreign bases and end the drug war, they will have nothing left to point to to say they’re doing something useful.

  • KxBk6U

    This wouldn’t be in our government’s best interest. If they subsidize the poppy farmers, dismantle al Qaeda, close the foreign bases and end the drug war, they will have nothing left to point to to say they’re doing something useful.

  • Guest

    Happen to have any addicts or alcoholics in your family?  Because you sound awfully hellbent and angry.  

    Everything you say makes *logical* sense, but I am going to come to the addicts defense here.  Yes, there is no doubt taking drugs is a personal choice.  Either you take it and deal with the consequences or you don’t.  Fine.  However, once an addiction is established, sometimes the consequence for making the choice NOT to use the drug any more can be lethal.  This is true for heroin/morphine/any type of opiate user and is also true for alcoholics who have drank for so long that DTs would literally kill them if they tried to stop on their own or made the choice, like you say, to just not anymore.  

    Also, I disagree as far as the disease model being “illogical.”  You cannot tell a REAL addict or a REAL alcoholic that they have a choice to use or not use and they must deal with the consequence.  No matter how many times an addict uses drugs and loses their job, rips family and friend relationships apart, does a number on their health, etc THE DISEASE still tells them they still have no choice in the matter and cannot possibly imagine the rest of their life without their vice.  The DISEASE is what keeps the blindfold over their eyes so they cannot see that any of this is actually affecting them or anybody around them.  It is a serious, self-punishing malady.  It is insanity… repeating the same thing over and over, only to get the very same results of all the previous attempts, yet still bound and determined to be “stronger” and “more in control” over the drug.  It’s the same as placing your hand on a hot stove, repeatedly.  It is insane.  It is a disease.  Nobody in their “right mind,” fully aware of how it affects them and everyone else would choose to continue that behavior.  People are NOT innately BAD.  We all have the best intentions… just sometimes we are blind. 

    And “junkies” are not to blame for opiate-based painkillers not being more widely available.  They are still controlled substances, the last time I checked, and those are not sold over the counter.  So, who are these “millions of people in pain” that are going without pain medication?  Can you back that up or do you just think “junkies” aren’t paying enough already for the harm they are causing you?  

  • Anonymous

    we always have it out for the russians,

    is it because they are the only unified nation that compares as far as land mass, natural resources, and nukes?

  • Anonymous

    opiate addiction becomes physical, anyone on opiates long enough will become addicted, although kicking the habit is up to the individual. people should develop alternative pain management techniques

  • Anonymous

    i totally agree. thank you for bringing a holistic perspective into the debate.

  • Wizard troll

    If its Pot YES! Any other drug NO! The problem with pot is not that it has no medical uses. Its that it only has medical uses. Pot is the holy drug and should not be abused but should def be used.

  • Wizard troll

    If its Pot YES! Any other drug NO! The problem with pot is not that it has no medical uses. Its that it only has medical uses. Pot is the holy drug and should not be abused but should def be used.

  • Requital

    This would truley be the -perfect- ending to the war with al queda in afghanistan. All these years of fighting, a war in the middle east has been made to continue on, pushed on by political forces in the west. During our war in the m e there has als o been a great shedding of light on the marijuana issue. Two of the biggest continuing issues of the last decade turn out to be sisters, Pinyin anybody? Legalizing distrubters in the USA and hopefully other nations, will mean a peaceful end to the longest war in american history. It will become a great balancing rope for the american economy. If we -allowed- the government to regulate it, they should be made to partner strongly with Afghanistan. Everyone will be happy. Our citizens. THEIR citizins. Then we will have all the time in the world to build that brilliant incredible future that we’ve all had our sights set on, too long overdue.

    Or no, just the right time it is :P

  • Requital

    This would truley be the -perfect- ending to the war with al queda in afghanistan. All these years of fighting, a war in the middle east has been made to continue on, pushed on by political forces in the west. During our war in the m e there has als o been a great shedding of light on the marijuana issue. Two of the biggest continuing issues of the last decade turn out to be sisters, Pinyin anybody? Legalizing distrubters in the USA and hopefully other nations, will mean a peaceful end to the longest war in american history. It will become a great balancing rope for the american economy. If we -allowed- the government to regulate it, they should be made to partner strongly with Afghanistan. Everyone will be happy. Our citizens. THEIR citizins. Then we will have all the time in the world to build that brilliant incredible future that we’ve all had our sights set on, too long overdue.

    Or no, just the right time it is :P

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ed-Lee/100000760210064 Ed Lee

    The UN is who is really in charge of which countries can export opium to the pharmaceutical industry, and that is bullshit. They should have no say on which countries can grow and trade medicinal crops. While I do think they should be allowed to sell their opium on the open market, I do not believe the US or any pharmaceutical company should buy the opium at anything above market price. The heroin manufacturers will pay more for it and India, Turkey, and Australia already has plenty to sell to the pharmaceutical industry at a way better price. There is no opium shortage, not in the US. The US has a strategic stockpile of opium, morphine, and codeine at Fort Knox. So I say let them be allowed to trade with the US but don’t pay more than market price for it. They should really be letting American farmers return to growing pharmaceutical opium crops.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ed-Lee/100000760210064 Ed Lee

    The UN is who is really in charge of which countries can export opium to the pharmaceutical industry, and that is bullshit. They should have no say on which countries can grow and trade medicinal crops. While I do think they should be allowed to sell their opium on the open market, I do not believe the US or any pharmaceutical company should buy the opium at anything above market price. The heroin manufacturers will pay more for it and India, Turkey, and Australia already has plenty to sell to the pharmaceutical industry at a way better price. There is no opium shortage, not in the US. The US has a strategic stockpile of opium, morphine, and codeine at Fort Knox. So I say let them be allowed to trade with the US but don’t pay more than market price for it. They should really be letting American farmers return to growing pharmaceutical opium crops.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ed-Lee/100000760210064 Ed Lee

    The UN is who is really in charge of which countries can export opium to the pharmaceutical industry, and that is bullshit. They should have no say on which countries can grow and trade medicinal crops. While I do think they should be allowed to sell their opium on the open market, I do not believe the US or any pharmaceutical company should buy the opium at anything above market price. The heroin manufacturers will pay more for it and India, Turkey, and Australia already has plenty to sell to the pharmaceutical industry at a way better price. There is no opium shortage, not in the US. The US has a strategic stockpile of opium, morphine, and codeine at Fort Knox. So I say let them be allowed to trade with the US but don’t pay more than market price for it. They should really be letting American farmers return to growing pharmaceutical opium crops.

  • weed4theplanet

    And putting a ton of $ in big pharms and the gov’ts pockets. You know their thinkin about it for the billions. They don’t give a shit about people or anything else. All bout the money. 

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