“The amount of land being used to grow opium poppies continues to decline in Myanmar, but ongoing conflicts are hampering efforts to stamp out the trade at a time when the illicit drug economy is becoming increasingly diverse, according to a new United Nations report.
Some 37,300 hectares of land in the country was under poppy cultivation last year, down from 41,000 in 2017, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in its Myanmar Opium Survey 2018 on Friday.
Nearly 90 percent of all the opium was grown in the northeastern Shan state, where government forces continue to battle ethnic rebels.
Myanmar has been battling conflicts in its border regions for decades and the unrest has long underpinned the drugs trade; in the mid-1990s, Golden Triangle, which includes the border areas of Laos and Thailand in addition to Myanmar, had the dubious distinction of being the center of the world’s opium and heroin trade.
Since then, government eradication efforts have helped tackle the problem, but the conflicts continue to provide the kind of conditions that allow the illicit drug trade to thrive.
About 2,605 hectares of cultivation was eradicated in 2018, 26 percent less than the previous year, it said. UNODC data shows eradication has been in decline since 2015.
The agency noted that economic problems, including a lack of job opportunities and income inequality, also contributed to the resilience of the drug trade amid increasing efforts by traffickers and organized criminals to diversify the market.
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A tincture is an alcoholic extract of plant or animal material or solution of such low volatility substance. Tincture of opium which is also known as laudanum is an alcoholic herbal preparation containing approximately 10% powdered opium by weight.
Opium is a highly narcotic drug acquired as dried latex that contains approximately 12% of the analgesic alkaloid morphine. Opium is processed chemically to produce heroin and other synthetic opioids for medicinal use and other uses. Opium tincture is reddish brown in color and bitter in taste.
Opium tincture contains morphine and codeine and it is primarily used as an analgesic and cough suppressant. Opium tincture enhances the tone in the long segments of the longitudinal muscle and inhibits propulsive contraction of circular and longitudinal muscles.
Opium tincture remains in the British Pharmacoepia, where it is referred to as Tincture of Opium, B.P., Laudanum, Thebaic Tincture, or Tinctura Thebaica.
Major methods of preparation of opium include processing it into regular opium tincture (tinctura opii).
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With 26,100 hectares dedicated to opium poppies, Mexico continues to be the third largest producer of the plant from which heroin is made, says the 2017 report of the UNODC, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
The estimated area of poppy plantations in Mexico was based on data from 2014 and 2015 and while relatively small there has been a marked upward trend.
In 2005, just 3,300 hectares of land were used to grow opium poppies in Mexico, but four years later the figure was up to 19,500 hectares.
By 2012, a thousand hectares were added to the cultivation of opium poppy, a source of heroin and morphine.
The amount of heroin confiscated has increased over the years as well, from 362 kilograms in 2011 to 546 in 2015.
Mexico Daily News
A North Carolina man was arrested last month when police discovered an acre of opium poppies growing in his yard.
The alleged grower, Cody Xiong, is a rare criminal in the United States. Despite a raging opioid epidemic in the country, fields of home-grown opium are rare. The sheriff in the North Carolina case said the discovery was only the second time the plant had been found growing in the United States this year, WBTV reported.
Growing enough poppies to make heroin in the United States doesn’t make much economic sense compared to importing the drug from more lawless regions, Wankel said. Compared to marijuana, opium poppies are more conspicuous and harder to process, and carry much harsher penalties for growing.
Read more at Live Science
Police officers in North Carolina got a little more than they bargained for this week, when they tracked down what they thought was a rural cannabis cultivation site, but instead uncovered a half-acre field full of poppy plants ready to be turned into opium, the base form of heroin.
According to CNN, Catawba County Sheriffs went to the rural home of 37 year-old Cody Xiong, who they suspected of growing marijuana. When they got there the man didn’t even attempt to hide his uniquely illicit garden.
The half-acre plot had 2,000 pounds of poppies, with an eventual estimated street value of $500 million.
Xiong will most likely face charges of manufacturing a Schedule II narcotic and drug trafficking, but he will go down in history – Captain Jason Reid of the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office told reporters that the bust was only the second large-scale opium production shut down on U.S. soil.
BEIJING: Having a green thumb can get you into trouble with the law – if you grow the wrong plants – as an elderly Chinese man found out.
The 62-year-old man, surnamed Tu, was arrested after he planted some 800 opium poppies in his farm in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, news portal ThePaper.cn reported.
After locating the farm, police apprehended Tu, who said he had meant to use the seeds from the poppies to season his food.
It is illegal in China to cultivate more than 500 poppy plants, as they can be used to produce illegal drugs such as opium, morphine and heroin. Violators face up to five years’ jail.
In a similar case last June, an elderly couple in Liaoning province grew more than 800 opium poppies because their flowers “looked beautiful”.
The Star Online
Opium to be grown under State protection to cater to the requirements in the country’s Ayurvedic or native medicine needs was the consensus of stakeholders as stated by the Presidential Task Force on Drug Prevention.
Director of the Task Force Dr. Samantha Kumara Kithalawaarachchi said that opium is essential for Ayurvedic medicinal preparations from stocks confiscated through narcotic raids and elsewhere.
Experts are of the view that provisions should be made in the law to allow the Ayurveda industry, other medicines, and hospitals to meet their requirements according to Dr. Kithalawaarachchi
“There are groups which are trying to derail the campaign of the Task Force by alleging that there is a Governmental move to grow opium and sell it. This is not the case,” Dr. Kithalawaarachchi further elaborated.