Opium Legalization

1421 Words 6 Pages
By allowing licensing, the licit market would consume the poppy rather than the black market, restricting the leakage of the drug on to the streets. Rather than trying to discourage the production of opium in Afghanistan, the United States should encourage the licit production of the drug for medical purposes. According to the International Narcotics Control Board, 80% of the world’s population faced a shortage of opium based medicines. Opium is the key ingredient in producing demerol, codeine, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and non-medicinal heroine used to wean substance abusers off of the drug. Aside from saving billions of dollars a year by halting the eradication program, the United States would be able to benefit economically …show more content…
However, there has been success with developing countries that have successfully shifted from the illicit production of opium to the production of medicinal opium; Turkey is one such country, providing a shining beacon of hope for Afghanistan. During the period leading up to the legalization of medical opium production, Turkey was faced with similar social and economic barriers. In 1970, 80% of the United States’ heroin came from Turkey. Fearing the possibility of being cut off from US Foreign Aid following President Nixon’s war on drugs, Turkey completely banned production of poppy in 1972. Two years later, Turkey reinstated the production of poppy in accordance with the UN single Convention and support from the US. Turkey then created a licensing board responsible for overseeing the production of medical opium. There are currently 350 officials responsible for overseeing the production of opium, costing the Turkish government 6 million dollars and employing over 600,000 workers. Of the total morphine produced from opium extraction, over 95% of it is exported, resulting in an export surplus of 60 million dollars. Since the introduction of licit opium in Turkey, the illicit production of opium has shifted to other …show more content…
In the year prior to legalization, Turkey’s GDP, when accounted for inflation, was $25 billion, a number very close to Afghanistan’s current GDP of $20 billion. Thus, this proves that it is economically feasible during this stage of development for Afghanistan to implement licensing procedures. Turkey and Afghanistan are also culturally similar. Both Turkey and Afghanistan are devout Muslim countries, with the total population consisting of 99.8% and 84.7-89.7% Sunni Muslims respectively. This suggests that possible religious and cultural hurdles can be overcome toward the legalization of opium. The failed attempts to eradicate poppy combined with the potential increased tax base should provide incentive to legalize the medical production of the

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