Opium Brides

Very powerful video story at PBS Frontline worth watching in its entirety: Opium Brides

It’s all about the collateral damage from drug wars and other wars. The government gets what it wants and the traffickers get what they want, and the poor farmers and their families get screwed.

Drug traffickers loan money to very poor farmers who use the money to plant opium crops. The government comes and eradicates the crops and the farmers are unable to pay their debt. Their daughters end up paying the price for the unpaid loan.

Note: many of the commenters at PBS seem to be unclear as to the reasons this problem exists, and could use a hand.

[Thanks, Sanho Tree]
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38 Responses to Opium Brides

  1. stayan says:

    Funny how there’s no slave trade associated with poppy farms in the UK and Australia.

    Yet another example of poor third worlders being screwed over by the drug war.

    The only thing threatening to destroy our crop in Australia is the native wildlife: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8118257.stm

  2. claygooding says:

    “”The question should be whether or not those law breaking wallabies should be brought to justice for indulging in illegal substances. The law makes no exceptions for no-one no matter what their excuse is or even what species they may be. They are not setting an example for their joeys nor for any other marsupials and I fear this could become an epidemic of outback size proportions.
    Phil, Edinburgh

    Gotta love it Strayan

  3. Duncan20903 says:

    “Note: many of the commenters at PBS seem to be unclear as to the reasons this problem exists, and could use a brain.”

    I took the liberty of fixing your typo Pete. It was probably your auto-correct software. I can’t even use that stuff my own self because I always ended up saying stuff I never said when I did use it.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      Linked below is the story of the arrest and trial of a lady who’s motto is (obviously) “never, ever, under any circumstances confess.” Gosh if I was on her jury I’d have entertained the notion of convicting her for insulting my intelligence. But that would be for only for a moment or two. Playing dumb as a rock is no reason someone should suffer the penalties of law. That said, it appears that her strategy was so stupid that it was pure genius.

      She Didn’t Know They Were Merrywanna Seeds

      “He said they was flower seeds. Some guy just gave them to me, and I just planted them,” Kelley told Channel 4 Action News reporter Ashlie Hardway. “Around here, I don’t know any of the neighbors.”

      I think this summer I’m going to buy a bag of bagels and scatter them around the back 40 and see what happens. I really think it’s a crying shame that this country is dependent on foreign opium and I think there’s just no reason for it. Hopefully I won’t end up with a crop of bagel trees.

  4. Francis says:

    OT: I’d meant to comment on this story about “cannabis users being born with smaller brains” when it was being discussed, but didn’t have a chance. (Better late than never, right?) I just wanted to make the point that, even if confirmed, it is in no way helpful to the drug warriors, except maybe at the idiotic sound-bite level (although unfortunately, that’s the level on which a lot of people operate). Here are the two key passages:

    This difference in size may mean the brain is not as effective, so children with a smaller orbitofrontal cortex could be more impulsive and less capable of carefully calculated decision-making. In turn, this could make them more likely to experiment with cannabis.


    Previous research has found that adults who are heavy cannabis smokers have much smaller brain volumes in this area, but it had, until now, been assumed the damage was caused by the regular drug use.

    So it sounds like a smaller orbitofrontal cortex might be associated with risk-taking behavior. Is it possible that people who try cannabis are more likely to be “risk-taking” individuals? Well, sure. (Of course the primary risk associated with cannabis use is the risk that armed thugs will arrest you and lock you in a cage.) Er… so what? More importantly, this latest research rebuts the previous hypothesis that cannabis use was causing “brain damage.” It’s yet another example of the drug warriors getting their cause and effect backwards.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      Go sell that big brain bullshit to Albert Einstein.

      Perhaps someday people will disabuse themselves of the notion that bigger is always better. I used to think that way about my teenie weenie peenie. My spam folder would torment me with promises of making Johnny Holmes blush with envy for a nominal fee. Their promises of women lining up to be pleasured haunted me. One day I broke down and decided to give their product a try. What did I have to lose? When I got the pills in the mail I naturally swallowed the entire lot in one fell swoop. Bigger is better! More is better! Never settle for less when you can have more! But when I woke the next morning I discovered to my utter horror that not only wasn’t their product a scam, but that it worked only too well. Now I can’t go anywhere without a wheelbarrow. Have you ever tried to accessorize a wardrobe around a wheelbarrow? Sure, it makes for a great novelty necktie but that only works in the right social setting. The women line up? Hardly. They run from my bedroom screaming in terror. It’s too late for me but you can save yourself. Be happy with what you have and make the best of it. Spam folders were invented for a good reason.

      You can see how I suffer, if you dare look. Warning! This video (1:14) is not for the faint of heart!

      • Nunavut Tripper says:

        Well smarten up Duncan . Why would you buy a product like that from a shady internet scammer?
        I always purchase my penis enlargers from a local reputable dealer and have had great results.
        Posted a pic of it on Lavalife for only three months and I have my first coffee date this weekend.
        I’ll let you know how I made out. wink wink nudge nudge

      • darkcycle says:

        Nice moustache, Duncan.

  5. claygooding says:

    I have searched and could not get one hit for an arrest for Marinol,although I may have not worded it as needed,,yet.

    Talk about a verification of a failed drug.

    • stayan says:

      There’s a clinical trial for Sativex going here at the moment and they’re not even worried about diversion in the slightest. Why would you go to the trouble when cannabis is so readily available anyway?

  6. darkcycle says:

    This is so off topic, I think it may earn me a place in Blog-hell, but I can’t resist. This is my old friend Bassie (Clinton Fearon) performing acoustic in Brasil (He’s a Bass player, acoustic guitar is WAYYY out of his comfort zone, so this is a brave guy, and that is a staduim audience). One More River to Cross:

  7. claygooding says:

    I am waiting for the wording that will allow Bayer to sell it,,they claimed Marinol was synthetic classified as schedule 2,even though the ONDCP,DEA and NIDA are supposed to fight any form of cannabis as a medicine,,they let the pharmaceutical companies do the clinical testing and FDA approval was established.

    TMK,no one has taken them to court over that yet and who would?

    • Duncan20903 says:

      If you’re referring to Sativex® then you need to know that they passed on rights to US distribution. You won’t be seeing Bayer selling Sativex® as Otsuka Pharma has US distribution rights. Bayer has the UK and Canada and Novartis has parts of Asia, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand and Africa. That being accurate only until Bayer swallows GW Pharma. Gosh I hope there’s a bidding war. Novartis, Bayer, and Otsuka, wow, that really says something about the industry’s opinion of the future of Sativex®. IMO of course.

      PS I know lots of people here hate the idea of profit. I don’t. You can just call me Quark.
      Australia wins world championship!

      • stayan says:

        And we don’t even have medical marijuana available! How do the prohibs explain that?

      • claygooding says:

        G&W is a subsidiary of Bayer,,or they were when Sativex went into FDA clinical testing,,not checked in awhile,,could have moved it around,,still belongs to Bayer I bet.

        Still waiting on that dance Strayan,,hemp oil is a schedule 1 drug and that is what Sativex is made from. My understanding is that it is from a strain with a balanced THC/CBD content.

  8. claygooding says:

    Trying a new quip for a prohib site:

    The only places you can find a 1000 marijuana users at one time is at hemp festivals,concerts,prison and anywhere 2000 people gather.

  9. Dante says:


    Very Good. However, should you agree that “less is more”, try this one out:

    “The only place you can find 1,000 marijuana users at one time is anywhere 2,000 people gather.”

  10. claygooding says:

    Wanted to keep the prisons in there so I thought it was too short to say just prison and 2000 people gather.

    However,,the way you wrote it is fine for a marijuana site,,I can’t help spurring prohibs every chance I get.

    And they need it.

  11. Duncan20903 says:

    The SCOTUS granted certiorari in Florida (Franky the sniffing dog) v. Jardines today.

    “But state of Florida lawyers and many legal experts say a dog’s sniff isn’t a violation because it only detects illegal activity not entitled to privacy.”

    • darkcycle says:

      Well, get a gate and a fence, and some no tresspassing signs if you want an expectation of privacy They’s already Ok’d placing tracking devices on your car while it is still in your driveway, saying essentailly “no gate-no privacy”. (Unless my recall is in error)

  12. Interesting says:


    New reports are full of the grim details that Francom left behind two young children and that Stewart could be facing the death penalty. What they don’t mention, but Balko did, and it can be confirmed by googling, is that Officer Francom was present for the horrifying September 2010 drug raid where cops shot and killed alleged meth-dealer Todd Blair (family said he was just an addict. His former roommate was maybe selling). In the video of that raid, below, I count about five seconds between the yells of “police” and the moment Sgt. Troy Burnett fired at Blair, who was holding a golf club.

    The only point is that Francom is now a link between the two biggest tragedies which result from the idiotic policy of busting down doors for drugs


    • darkcycle says:

      Ugly. Ugly, unneeded, and tragic…they won’t say what drugs the search warrent were issued for. I have a suspicion this will get uglier as details emerge.

  13. claygooding says:

    I have been busier than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest arguing with police officers about the shooting at the Salt Lake City Tribune,mentioning the recent oversight committee’s mention of removing grants for marijuana arrests had teeth gnashing all over UTAH.

    I finally bailed after posting Martin Luther King Jr’s quote, “The act of openly disobeying an unjust, immoral or unconstitutional law as a matter of conscience, and accepting the consequences, including submitting to imprisonment if necessary, to protest an injustice.

    and a good “”if you will build more prisons,we will come.””

    • Duncan20903 says:

      Thanks for taking care of that. I just didn’t have the mental wherewithal today. Also I’ve been in a fierce battle in the War on Squirrels for the last 2 days. I’ve managed to take 5 POWs but have released 4 in a neutral country far, far away from my attic. I never knew before today that some squirrels purr like kitty cats. Obviously not for the same reason because this one wasn’t a happy camper by any stretch of the imagination. I think it was actually begging for its release or mercy or something. But I may just be anthropomorphizing. But don’t be fooled by their playful demeanor. They can be vicious enemies and willing to fight to the death. I sure wouldn’t be challenging a creature a couple of hundred times my size but one of them was sure willing to take me on. That was one vicious, foul tempered rodent. Stupid little tree rat, I was trying to give it some peanut butter.

      Sad news, Gatewood Galbraith passed away last week.

      If slavery was still in existence, I’d be heading the Underground Railroad,” Galbraith said.”

      • darkcycle says:

        I’ll loan you my dog, Duncan. He’s hell on squirrels. ‘Course, your attic might look a little worse for it. He’s a big puppy, and real strong too…

        • MuchoOuch says:

          And, seeing they already know what it tastes like, I’ll lend Duncan the index finger of my right hand.

      • claygooding says:

        A little garlic salt and pepper,lightly browned in 3 tblspn olive oil,then into a stew pot,oil and all,,stew vegetables and a can of Rotell,,,add cornbread or crackers. Oh yeah,,add water. :<)

        He was growling at you..if he could have gotten hold of you,,,,

    • darkcycle says:

      I’ve been under seige by a three year old in the throes of toilet training. We’ve suddenly decided that after a month of using the potty, we’re on strike, and won’t be using the toidey again until our demands are met. Negotiations broke down and now I face the delicate task of enlisitng a mediator (Mommy) to re-establish talks and move this impasse toward a settlement.
      So…I’m sorry, it slipped through the cracks (or seeped through the underpants as the case may be).

      • claygooding says:

        Sorry,,that would have me either hid out in the laundry room with my bong or turning the garden…..laundry room

  14. Francis says:

    Did you see this video of Rick S.*:

    SSDP Member: As a champion of family values and keeping America strong, would you continue to destroy families by sending nonviolent drug offenders to prison?

    Rick S.: Uh…wow…the federal government doesn’t do that.

    *Yes, I know it’s technically the man’s name, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to reprint a vulgarity on a family website like DWR. BTW, worst GOP “flavor of the week” yet.

  15. allan says:

    Thanks Pete, I watched this the other night on Frontline and was hoping I’d find it here… so totally WO(s)D snafu. To make the point… I watched Charlie Rose interview George McGovern and Charlie asked if George would have supported the invasion of Afghanistan. McGovern almost laughed. He pointed out that many aggressive powers have invaded Afghanistan over the centuries – and they all failed.

    Of course the Senlis Council proposal for Afghanistan is about as far along as it was when proposed. Europe’s press discussed it, Canada’s press discussed it. I think the MAP archives show 7 articles covering it in the U.S.

    There is no profit in peace. The world market in illegal drugs is nearly 10% of total annual global trade. Why would those entrenched in the drug war – the cartels and the prohibitionists – give up such a fat, gold dripping goose?

    The U.S. gov’t will not stop its participation until we force it to. When the U.S. stops, other nations will line up to follow the U.S.’ lead.

  16. allan says:

    OT but worthy of note:

    U.S. to Expand Its Definition of Rape in Statistics

    For too long too much rape has been labeled “assault.” There were no rapes in our jails and prisons, just assaults. “Modern civilization” my white patootie. It’s a new dark ages, just made palatable to the shallow of conscience with a chrome and LED lit facade.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      It wasn’t a long bit, but I never saw a rape when I was in jail. There just wasn’t any need if you are into that sort of thing. A plentiful supply of guys willing to play catcher. Way more supply than demand as a matter of fact. I did see a man with a vagina, but that’s another story in itself.

      I just can’t wait to hear the hysterical rhetoric about the sudden increase in forcible rape in the US. You know certain people just aren’t going to acknowledge the redefinition if it gets in the way of disseminating they’re hysterical rhetoric.

      • allan says:

        yeah, never did I, but my stay was very short. However…


        Rates of HIV, hepatitis C, and other sexually transmitted diseases are significantly higher in prisons and jails than they are in society at large […]


        In South Africa, prisoner rape is directly linked to that country’s HIV/AIDS crisis. HIV prevalence in South Africa is among the highest in the world, and the rate among prisoners is estimated to be more than double that of the general population. An independent commission described the government’s failure to address sexual violence behind bars as “imposing a death sentence on vulnerable inmates.” With over 360,000 inmates released each year, addressing sexual abuse in detention is vital to slowing the pace of the epidemic.

        The important point for me is that this dovetails w/ drugs in prison… secure facilities are hardly secure and as Jimmy Carter pointed out the penalty for a crime ought not be more severe than any possible harm from whatever substance…

        A decade old data but informative:


        (2) Insufficient research has been conducted and insufficient data reported on the extent of prison rape. However, experts have conservatively estimated that at least 13 percent of the inmates in the United States have been sexually assaulted in prison. Many inmates have suffered repeated assaults. Under this estimate, nearly 200,000 inmates now incarcerated have been or will be the victims of prison rape. The total number of inmates who have been sexually assaulted in the past 20 years likely exceeds 1,000,000.
        (3) Inmates with mental illness are at increased risk of sexual victimization. America’s jails and prisons house more mentally ill individuals than all of the Nation’s psychiatric hospitals combined. As many as 16 percent of inmates in State prisons and jails, and 7 percent of Federal inmates, suffer from mental illness.
        (4) Young first-time offenders are at increased risk of sexual victimization. Juveniles are 5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted in adult rather than juvenile facilities—often within the first 48 hours of incarceration.
        (5) Most prison staff are not adequately trained or prepared to prevent, report, or treat inmate sexual assaults.


        (13) The high incidence of sexual assault within prisons involves actual and potential violations of the United States Constitution. In Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825 (1994), the Supreme Court ruled that deliberate indifference to the substantial risk of sexual assault violates prisoners’ rights under the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause of the Eighth Amendment. The Eighth Amendment rights of State and local prisoners are protected through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Pursuant to the power of Congress under Section Five of the Fourteenth Amendment, Congress may take action to enforce those rights in States where officials have demonstrated such indifference. States that do not take basic steps to abate prison rape by adopting standards that do not generate significant additional expenditures demonstrate such indifference. Therefore, such States are not entitled to the same level of Federal benefits as other States.

        And further… w/ the national states’ avg for resolution of rape reports being a shameful 15% or so, the % must be far lower in our multiplicity of incarceration facilities.

        • Duncan20903 says:

          One thing you need to account for is that we’re not just talking about men. Women prisoners also get raped…by the male guards.
          The Scandal of Women’s Prisons…And the Shackles that Bind Half of Humanity

          13% is a long way from, “if you don’t confess you’re going to lose that virgin starfruit, guaranteed.” But I can buy 13%. As a matter of fact I can buy it so easily that it’s likely understated. Remember I didn’t say it doesn’t happen. That would be a very stupid belief.

  17. allan says:

    Oh I knew you weren’t saying that, but you did provide the segue… and no, not the riding kind.

    And yes, women included… juveniles too I suspect. It’s just not athletic coaches, boy scout leaders and Catholic priests our children need to beware of… (ouch)

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