Earlier this week, I mentioned the Senlis Council’s well-researched and eminently commonsense proposal to license opium production in Afghanistan for medical needs and turn the black-market problem into a legal crop that would support the farmers while reducing the power of the criminal black-market.
So far, there’s been very little response to the actual proposal, although this Australian article noted how quickly international prohibitionists rejected the idea without even adressing its merits.
Right. And your message to your farmers is…?
Part of the Senlis proposal was based on a report from the International Narcotics Control Board…
The board’s president, Professor Hamid Ghodse, raised the issue in May at the 58th session of the World Health Assembly, describing it as a “chronic shortage”.
The Senlis Council proposed increasing supply to lower the cost and make it more available in developing countries. But after their report, the Interntaional Narcotics Control Board changed its tune and claimed there was actually a surplus, and that the lack of morphine availability in developing countries was a question of their countries being unwilling to spend the money, not the high price(!)
It’s almost comical watching these prohibitionists work. One of the arguments against the proposal (this was used by the spokesperson for the INCB) was that increasing the legal supply would increase the risk of diversion of opiates to the black market! Right. We don’t dare divert crops from the black market to the legitimate market because some of that might end up back in the black market!
“bullet” How’s the war going?
In the meantime, some articles have been touting a degree of success in Afghanistan as the number of acres planted with poppies has been reduced (although yield has increased). However, more balanced articles (like this one in the NY Times) report something different.
“The threat is definitely there that the country will become a narco state,” he said in an interview. “We need a stronger commitment to eradication and stronger support for farmers so that not only are they won over to the reality that law enforcement works, but that the alternative for them is not humanitarian disaster but jobs and income.”
According to the report, most of the profits go to a very few traffickers, warlords and militia leaders rather than to the impoverished farmers, who are often heavily in debt to the warlords.
Of course, nobody has any good alternatives for the farmers (except the Senlis Council, whose proposals get rejected out of hand). And the amount of development assistance available really only makes temporary differences…
What was the problem with the Senlis proposal again?
“bullet” Stupid Reporters.
In a related story, a new UN survey came out regarding drug use in Afghanistan, and the press has been tripping over itself in its eagerness to appear illiterate.
Note this version from Canada.com:
The opening line:
Which is it? Users or Abusers? Do you need a dictionary?
Now take a look at the Reuters report (with information supplied by the United Nations Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)):
“Use” or “Abuse,” folks? Make up your mind.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) also expressed concern about the number of regular drug users in the country. “The survey shows a rather high number of drug addicts in a population of around 24 million,” Doris Buddenberg, UNODC representative in Afghanistan, said.
Oh, now we’re talking about addicts? Well, that was the UNODC spokesman talking. How is the reporter covering it?
Treatment of drug users??? What would that entail?
Drug User = Drug Abuser = Drug Addict. What kind of crap reporting is this?
“bullet” Prohibitionists adjust goal line
Over the years, prohibitionists have always wanted to hoodwink people into believing that prohibition actually works, so they have come up with some goal of “winning the war” by a certain year. Weren’t we supposed to be drug free America by 1994 or something? We’ve had several of those “goals” that we’ve completely passed. The truth is that prohibition doesn’t work, so any goal set by them is impossible to acheive.
But perhaps they’re getting smarter and moving the goalpost back. A counter-narcotics working group recently had a meeting in Germany…
So were are the goal posts now?
Drug-free in Afghanistan by 2055. I can’t wait.