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Monday, September 26, 2005

Good Drug, Bad Drug

It was at a party where an angry anti-war type confronted me about the drug trade in Afghanistan that I discovered a really great idea: make the Afghan drug trade into something legal and positive for the country. Instead of funding a drug war that would be, probably, about as successful as our other drug wars, instead of throwing money at a fight that would target the only reliable economic driver in a country that desperately needed money and industry, we should legitimize that industry and use it to help re-build the country.

My version had tax credits as incentives for pharma companies to source their opiates through some as yet unnamed and uncreated Afghani bureau of Good Drug Development. I won’t pretend to be the first to have the idea, but it was new to me at the time. All this to say: I’m glad that someone else is working on toward the same goal.

The council, a Paris-based body of politicians, experts and academics, said the current policy of trying to eradicate the fields of poppies that yield opium, which makes up about half of Afghanistan’s income, was a costly failure.

The policy had little impact while demonising Afghan farmers and destroying “a valuable natural resource rather than turning it into a powerful driver for economic development,” the study said.

“The illegal heroin trade is the largest and fastest growing business sector in Afghanistan, accounting for a 2.7 billion US dollars’ profit a year,” it said.

But while it provided jobs for thousands of Afghans, it was only enriching a few while possibly feeding militant and terror networks that could be involved in the drugs industry, it said.

And as the illegal opium exports were untaxed, the public sector was deprived of income that could be used to build much-needed infrastructure.

However a “system of licenced opium production can form the basis for an open-minded and above all realistic debate on how to remove Afghanistan from its immediate development crisis and its imminent descent into a narco-state,” it said.

The council recommended the government fast-track the establishment of a national authority to licence opium producers and research an amnesty that would “integrate illegal actors into the opium licencing system”.

Aside from the economic benefit, it might also pull more people (and more powerful people) into the legitimate political system, reducing the violence and helping speed Afghanistan’s recovery.

Sounds like a damned fine idea to me.

Read the story.

Update: Kindly linked by John Hays.

Comments & Trackbacks
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It is a good idea, but I would venture a guess that this Administration would do everything in its power to prevent it from happening.  They think fighting naked boobies is important in a time of war, so I imagine their darling drug war won’t roll over so easily.

on Sep 26 2005 @ 09:54 AM

Andy’s right. We’ve got an AG who considers enforcing anti-pr0n laws a priority worthy of ten FBI agents’ time and a President who supports Constitutional amendments that limit marriage to male/female pairings.

Everyone knows I’m a pro-Bush lackey and a shill for the administration, but they’re really fucking up every time they put this wingnut culture war bullshit front and center.

on Sep 26 2005 @ 10:29 AM

I’m still holding out hope that in this instance they will see the rational path. Maybe I’m thinking too many happy thoughts on this one.

on Sep 26 2005 @ 11:07 AM

It was at a party where an angry anti-war type confronted me

This could be the sentence that opens my explanation of why I have so few friends in the Los Angeles/Pasadena area.

on Sep 26 2005 @ 02:32 PM

In my current social circles, I’m one of the very few conservatives that you’ll find in the mix. Normally that doesn’t bother me. Lately, though, it’s been irritating that whenever I get together with a certain group of people, there is going to be some political argument--and that gets tiring.

Sometimes I’d just rather talk about music and movies and art or whatever.

on Sep 26 2005 @ 02:36 PM

I don’t know which is worse; talking about movies, music and art with Hollywood leftists or talking about politics with them. With one you get name dropping, gossip, and “industry talk” mixed with elitist cultural observations and with the other you get misinformed, hateful parroting of the leftist propaganda/talking points. There’s no winning and it doesn’t help that one of my friends likes to point out to people that I’m a “Republican.” He likes the shock value. You’ve never seen the tone of a conversation shift so quickly. It’s not easy being Red. I’m a man without a country, I tell ya.

on Sep 27 2005 @ 08:46 AM

I feel for you, Patrick. Honestly.

on Sep 27 2005 @ 03:29 PM

I am truly sorry, but under no circumstances i can not agree with your idea. It was the same when they proposed legalizing prostitution or creating smoking areas in high-schools. I mean, it’s absurd, it’s like encouraging people to start doing drugs!

on May 14 2007 @ 02:07 PM

Not the same at all, actually. Opiates are used in a variety of legal (prescription) drugs. Regardless of my opinions on legalizing drugs, helping broker preferred trade deals between pharma companies and Afghan opiate producers (poppy growers) would simply help legitimize Afghanistan’s biggest money crop instead of using that same crop to drive a wedge between farmers and and the coalition-supported government.

The places where this becomes questionable are economic--I believe that most pharmaceutical companies use synthetic opiates now instead of relying on crops and those synthetics might be far more cost effective. Brokering deals would probably involve tax breaks or some other kind of incentive that would artificially lower the cost of the crops. I personally think that it could be worth the cost.

on May 14 2007 @ 02:19 PM

There’s no such thing as good drug. The only good use of drugs is to calm down a person’s pain or in any medical way, but taken i=under careful medical supervision.

on May 25 2007 @ 03:36 PM

I agree there are no good drugs, taking any kind will lead to certain problems that’s for sure. It doesn’t matter if you have a common cold it’s better to treat it naturally.

on May 27 2007 @ 08:29 AM

Are you actually trying to say you wold encourage your kids to do drugs if someone said they’re “good”? I know there’s some weird people out there, but this has topped them all. Drugs are good as in medication under close supervised attention.

on Jun 18 2007 @ 02:02 AM
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