compiled by Dee Finney

DREAM - 10-27-06 - I was in a small store, similar to a small roadside store. It seemed to be run by Japanese people.

The Japanese female clerk had been working for many hours and need to take a break. She picked up a round snack cake in a package and walked away with it to eat it.

I noticed then that there was a lot of empty spaces on the shelves which I told to an American woman who was standing nearby who seemed to be in charge. So she told an American man to fill up the empty spaces with fancy Christmas wrapped gifts to sell.

I then went into another room where an old Japanese man lay on a high bed. It seemed he was probably near death.

Then a Japanese doctor came in and lay out some small cutting instruments (scalpels) on the edge of the bed and six needles embedded with opium.  It was immediately apparent the doctor was going to inject the old man with the opium needles and then filet the man with the scalpel knives he had laid out.

So I asked him if that was his plan and he said it was, so I slipped the needles and the knives back into the case, snapped the case shut and then picked up the case and swung it so it hit the Japanese doctor in the head with it.

The case was made of thin leather but it had heavy instruments in it and it went 'thunk' against the Japanese doctor's head.

I expected the Japanese doctor to defend himself, but he didn't. He realized his fault against the old man and he just stood there and took his punishment.

So I hit him in the head again and again, including in the nose and the eyes until he was bloody and blind.

I asked the doctor if he would be permanently blind and he said, "Yes!" and yet still stood there quietly while I beat him the head with his own instrument case until I was sure that he was blind.

I woke up feeling quite distressed at my own violence against the doctor to stop him from using the opium on his patient.



Smack, china white, horse, black tar . . . all slang names for heroin. We are often told what happens to our bodies and our minds if we use this drug, but less commonly discussed is how the byproduct of a simple flower is converted into one of the most addictive drugs known to man. Also, not discussed much is how this drug makes its way from far-off growing areas to the United States. The abuse of heroin-whether by inhalation, ingestion, or injection-is the last step in a process of many, and it is those preceding steps that we will discuss. Opium poppyfields in the northern Shan State of Burma. Flowering Opium Poppy Mexican Black Tar Heroin Heroin #4, also known as Smack, China White, and Horse.

Heroin is derived from raw opium gum, which is produced only by the opium poppy plant, although other varieties of poppy exist. The California, Flanders, and Oriental poppy are three types grown domestically. Poppy—both the opium-producing and non-opium-producing varieties—can be found in many different climates all over the world. Opium poppy has been grown in Asia for many years, and more recently has been cultivated in Latin America. About 60 percent of the world’s opium is produced in the remote parts of Southeast Asia, especially in the aptly named Golden Triangle, which includes parts of Burma, Laos, and Thailand. Other primary growers include Afghanistan, Pakistan, Colombia, and Mexico.

The leading producers of opium poppy in the world are the hill tribe people of Southeast Asia. They live under very primitive conditions with no electricity and no running water. They are very poor—opium is their currency, and it is sold or traded for basic necessities like food, clothing, and utensils. Opium is also used locally as a substitute for modern medicines because few medical supplies are available in these remote areas.

Refining raw opium into heroin is a tedious, multi-step process. Once the opium gum is transported to a refinery, it is converted into morphine, an intermediate product. This conversion is achieved primarily by chemical processes and requires several basic elements and implements. Boiling water is used to dissolve opium gum; 55-gallon drums are used for boiling vessels; and burlap sacks are used to filter and strain liquids. When dried, the morphine resulting from this initial process is pressed into bricks. The conversion of morphine bricks into heroin is also primarily a chemical process. The main chemical used is acetic anhydride, along with sodium carbonate, activated charcoal, chloroform, ethyl alcohol, ether, and acetone. The two most commonly produced heroin varieties are No. 3 heroin, or smoking heroin, and No. 4 heroin, or injectable heroin.

The refining process has been perfected to the point where heroin purity levels are above 90 percent, as the product leaves the refinery. However, as the heroin makes its way to US, it passes through many hands. To maximize individual profit, substances that make the heroin less pure and more bulky are added at each stop. These dilutants are white and powdery just like the heroin and include caffeine, baking soda, powdered milk, and quinine. By the time the heroin gets to the user, it is often only about 40 percent pure, and little is known by anyone involved in the production or trafficking of the drug about the components of the other 60 percent.

Excerpted from:

Heroin & Opium Timeline

c. 3400 B.C. The opium poppy is cultivated in lower Mesopotamia. The Sumerians refer to it as Hul Gil, the 'joy plant.' The Sumerians would soon pass along the plant and its euphoric effects to the Assyrians. The art of poppy-culling would continue from the Assyrians to the Babylonians who in turn would pass their knowledge onto the Egyptians.

c.1300 B.C. In the capital city of Thebes, Egyptians begin cultivation of opium the baicum, grown in their famous poppy fields. The opium trade flourishes during the reign of Thutmose IV, Akhenaton and King Tutankhamen. The trade route included the Phoenicians and Minoans who move the profitable item across the Mediterranean Sea into Greece, Carthage, and Europe.

c.1100 B.C. On the island of Cyprus, the "Peoples of the Sea" craft surgical-quality culling knives to harvest opium, which they would cultivate, trade and smoke before the fall of Troy.

c. 460 B.C. Hippocrates, "the father of medicine", dismisses the magical attributes of opium but acknowledges its usefulness as a narcotic and styptic in treating internal diseases, diseases of women and epidemics.

330 B.C. Alexander the Great introduces opium to the people of Persia and India.

300 B.C. Opium used by Arabs, Greeks, and Romans as a sedative and soporific.

A.D. 400 Opium thebaicum, from the Egyptian fields at Thebes, is first introduced to China by Arab traders.

1300's Opium disappears for two hundred years from European historical record. Opium had become a taboo subject for those in circles of learning during the Holy Inquisition. In the eyes of the Inquisition, anything from the East was linked to the Devil.

1500 The Portuguese, while trading along the East China Sea, initiate the smoking of opium. The effects were instantaneous as they discovered but it was a practice the Chinese considered barbaric and subversive.

1527 During the height of the Reformation, opium is reintroduced into European medical literature by Paracelsus as laudanum. These black pills or "Stones of Immortality" were made of opium thebaicum, citrus juice and quintessence of gold and prescribed as painkillers.

1600's Residents of Persia and India begin eating and drinking opium mixtures for recreational use. Portuguese merchants carrying cargoes of Indian opium through Macao direct its trade flow into China.

1606 Ships chartered by Elizabeth I are instructed to purchase the finest Indian opium and transport it back to England.

1680 English apothecary, Thomas Sydenham, introduces Sydenham's Laudanum, a compound of opium, sherry wine and herbs. His pills along with others of the time become popular remedies for numerous ailments.

1689 Use of tobacco-opium mixtures (madak) begins in the East Indies (probably Java) spreads to Formosa, Fukien and the South China coast (refs).

Engelberg Kaempfer inspects primitive dens where the mixture is dispensed

1700 The Dutch export shipments of Indian opium to China and the islands of Southeast Asia; the Dutch introduce the practice of smoking opium in a tobacco pipe to the Chinese.

Use of hashish, alcohol, and opium spreads among the population of occupied Constantinople

1729 Chinese emperor, Yung Cheng, issues an edict prohibiting the smoking of opium and its domestic sale, except under license for use as medicine.

1750 The British East India Company assumes control of Bengal and Bihar, opium-growing districts of India. British shipping dominates the opium trade out of Calcutta to China.

1753 Linnaeus, the father of botany, first classifies the poppy, Papaver somniferum- 'sleep-inducing', in his book Genera Plantarum.

1767 Opium from Bengal continues to enter China despite the edict of 1729 prohibiting smoking. The British East India Company's import of opium to China increases in frequency from 200 chests annually in 1729 to a staggering two thousand chests of opium per year. However, much is for medicinal use. Tariffs are collected on the opium.

1772 The East India company establishes a limited monopoly over Bengal opium; the company has general control but the operation is in the hands of contractors, who advance company funds to the farmers, purchase the opium produced, and sell it to the company which then auctions it off to merchants in Calcutta. British companies are the principal shippers.

1773 - 1786 Warren Hastings, the first governor general of India, recognizes that opium is harmful and at first opposes increasing production; later he encourages the the control of opium by the company hoping that by monopolizing and limiting the supply he will discourage its consumption. This limited monopoly lasts throughout his administration and beyond, but when the Chinese market is discovered, the monopoly shifts from controlling to expanding cultivation.

1779 First mention of actual trading in opium at Canton.

1780 British traders establish an opium depot at Macao. Another imperial edict prohibits consumption of opium and reiterates prohibition of its sale.

1787 Trade in opium is still less important than trade in commodities; directors of the East India Company, recognizing China's objections to the importation of opium, make offers to prohibit the export of Indian opium to China. However, company representatives in Canton declare that the Chinese are never sincere in their declared intentions of suppressing illicit traffic, as long as the officials issue prohibitory edicts with one hand and extend the other to receive bribes from the illegal trade.

1793 The British East India Company establishes a total monopoly on the opium trade. All poppy growers in India were forbidden to sell opium to competitor trading companies.

1796 Alarmed by increasing use, the emperor of China issues an edict forbiding importation of opium, as well as export of Chinese silver that is being used as a medium of exchange. Now even legitimate trade is limited to barter. Nonetheless, illegal purchase of opium with silver continues.

1799 The 1799 edict increases traffic through Macao and other areas beyond government control enabling unprecedented growth. The British declare only their legitimate cargo, leave opium on board to be picked up by Chinese mercahnts who smuggle it ashore in small, fast boats.

China's emperor, Kia King, bans opium completely, making trade and poppy cultivation illegal.

A strong edict by authorities at Canton, supporting the emperor's decree of 1796, forbids opium trade at that port. A concurrent drive against native poppy growing is initiated. Opium becomes an illicit commodity.

1800's Patent medicines and opium preparations such as Dover's Powder were readily available without restrictions. Indeed, Laudanum (opium mixed with alcohol) was cheaper than beer or wine and readily within the means of the lowest-paid worker. As a result, throughout the first half of the 19th century, the incidence of opium dependence appears to have increased steadily in England, Europe and the United States. Working-class medicinal use of opium-bearing nostrums as sedatives for children was especially prominent in England. However, despite some well known cases among 19th century English literary and creative personalities (Thomas de Quincey, Byron, Shelley, Coleridge, and Dickens) recreational use was limited, and there is no evidence that use was so excessive as to be a medical or social concern.

1800 The British Levant Company purchases nearly half of all of the opium coming out of Smyrna, Turkey strictly for importation to Europe and the United States.

Opium becomes identified with official corruption, criminals and antigovernment secret societies. An edict prohibits domestic cultivation and repeats the prohibition against importing opium. China develops an anti-opium policy, at least on paper. Edicts continue to be issued reiterating prohibitions against importation, sale, and consumption of opium.

1800 - 1820 Domestic opium cultivation is encouraged by increased opium use, along with rising prices and problems with adulteration. It declines after the 1820s, but there does not appear to have been any call for controls.

1803 Friedrich Sertuerner of Paderborn, Germany discovers the active ingredient of opium by dissolving it in acid then neutralizing it with ammonia. The result: alkaloids- Principium somniferum or morphine. This may have been the first plant alkaloid ever isolated and set off a firestorm of research into plant alkaloids. Within half a century, dozens of alkaloids, such as atropine, caffeine, cocaine, and quinine, had been isolated from other plants and were being used in precisely measured dosages for the first time.

Physicians believe that opium had finally been perfected and tamed. Morphine is lauded as "God's own medicine" for its reliability, long-lasting effects and safety.

1804 Opium trading resumes at the port of Canton. Though the 1799 edict is still in force, it has little effect and no immediate practical change in policy ensues.

1805 A smuggler from Boston, Massachusetts, Charles Cabot, attempts to purchase opium from the British, then smuggle it into China under the auspices of British smugglers.

1812 American John Cushing, under the employ of his uncles' business, James and Thomas H. Perkins Company of Boston, acquires his wealth from smuggling Turkish opium to Canton.

1816 John Jacob Astor of New York City joins the opium smuggling trade. His American Fur Company purchases ten tons of Turkish opium then ships the contraband item to Canton on the Macedonian. Astor would later leave the China opium trade and sell solely to England.

1819 Writer John Keats and other English literary personalities experiment with opium intended for strict recreational use- simply for the high and taken at extended, non-addictive intervals

1821 Thomas De Quincey publishes his autobiographical account of opium addiction, 'Confessions of an English Opium-eater.'

1827 E. Merck & Company of Darmstadt, Germany, begins commercial manufacturing of morphine.

1830 The British dependence on opium for medicinal and recreational use reaches an all time high as 22,000 pounds of opium is imported from Turkey and India.

Jardine-Matheson & Company of London inherit India and its opium from the British East India Company once the mandate to rule and dictate the trade policies of British India are no longer in effect.

1832 Codeine was extracted from opium.

1837 Elizabeth Barrett Browning falls under the spell of morphine. This, however, does not impede her ability to write "poetical paragraphs."

1839 Opium and its preparations are responsible for more premature deaths than any other chemical agent. Opiates account for 186 of 543 poisonings, including no fewer than 72 among children.

Mar. 18, 1839 Lin Tse-Hsu, imperial Chinese commissioner in charge of suppressing the opium traffic, orders all foreign traders to surrender their opium. In response, the British send expenditionary warships to the coast of China, beginning The First Opium War.

1840 New Englanders bring 24,000 pounds of opium into the United States. This catches the attention of U.S. Customs which promptly puts a duty fee on the import.

1841 The Chinese are defeated by the British in the First Opium War. Along with paying a large indemnity, Hong Kong is ceded to the British.

1843 Dr. Alexander Wood of Edinburgh discovers a new technique of administering morphine, injection with a syringe. He finds the effects of morphine on his patients instantaneous and three times more potent.

1852 The British arrive in lower Burma, importing large quantities of opium from India and selling it through a government-controlled opium monopoly.

1853 The hypodermic needle was invented.

1856 The British and French renew their hostilities against China in the Second Opium War. In the aftermath of the struggle, China is forced to pay another indemnity. The importation of opium is legalized.

Opium production increases along the highlands of Southeast Asia.

1874 English researcher, C.R. Wright first synthesizes heroin, or diacetylmorphine, by boiling morphine over a stove.

In San Francisco, smoking opium in the city limits is banned and is confined to neighboring Chinatowns and their opium dens.

1878 Britain passes the Opium Act with hopes of reducing opium consumption. Under the new regulation, the selling of opium is restricted to registered Chinese opium smokers and Indian opium eaters while the Burmese are strictly prohibited from smoking opium.

1886 The British acquire Burma's northeast region, the Shan state. Production and smuggling of opium along the lower region of Burma thrives despite British efforts to maintain a strict monopoly on the opium trade.

1890 U.S. Congress, in its earliest law-enforcement legislation on narcotics, imposes a tax on opium and morphine.

Tabloids owned by William Randolph Hearst publish stories of white women being seduced by Chinese men and their opium to invoke fear of the 'Yellow Peril', disguised as an "anti-drug" campaign.

1895 Heinrich Dreser working for The Bayer Company of Elberfeld, Germany, finds that diluting morphine with acetyls produces a drug without the common morphine side effects. Bayer begins production of diacetylmorphine and coins the name "heroin."

1898 The Bayer Company introduced heroin as a substitute for morphine.

Early 1900's The philanthropic Saint James Society in the U.S. mounts a campaign to supply free samples of heroin through the mail to morphine addicts who are trying give up their habits.

Efforts by the British and French to control opium production in Southeast Asia are successful. Nevertheless, this Southeast region, referred to as the 'Golden Triangle', eventually becomes a major player in the profitable opium trade during the 1940's.

1902 In various medical journals, physicians discuss the side effects of using heroin as a morphine step-down cure. Several physicians would argue that their patients suffered from heroin withdrawal symptoms equal to morphine addiction.

1903 Heroin addiction rises to alarming rates.

1905 U.S. Congress bans opium.

1906 China and England finally enact a treaty restricting the Sino-Indian opium trade.

Several physicians experiment with treatments for heroin addiction. Dr. Alexander Lambert and Charles B. Towns tout their popular cure as the most "advanced, effective and compassionate cure" for heroin addiction. The cure consisted of a 7 day regimen, which included a five day purge of heroin from the addict's system with doses of belladonna delirium.

U.S. Congress passes the Pure Food and Drug Act requiring contents labeling on patent medicines by pharmaceutical companies. As a result, the availability of opiates and opiate consumers significantly declines.

1909 The first federal drug prohibition passes in the U.S. outlawing the importation of opium. It was passed in preparation for the Shanghai Conference, at which the US presses for legislation aimed at suppressing the sale of opium to China.

Feb. 1, 1909 The International Opium Commission convenes in Shanghai. Heading the U.S. delegation are Dr. Hamilton Wright and Episcopal Bishop Henry Brent. Both would try to convince the international delegation of the immoral and evil effects of opium.

1910 After 150 years of failed attempts to rid the country of opium, the Chinese are finally successful in convincing the British to dismantle the India-China opium trade.

Dec. 17, 1914 The passage of Harrison Narcotics Act which aims to curb drug (especially cocaine but also heroin) abuse and addiction. It requires doctors, pharmacists and others who prescribed narcotics to register and pay a tax.

1922 Narcotic Import and Export Act - restricted the importation of crude opium except for medical use.

1923 The U.S. Treasury Department's Narcotics Division (the first federal drug agency) bans all legal narcotics sales. With the prohibition of legal venues to purchase heroin, addicts are forced to buy from illegal street dealers.

1924 Heroin Act - made manufacture and possession of heroin illegal.

1925 In the wake of the first federal ban on opium, a thriving black market opens up in New York's Chinatown.

1930's The majority of illegal heroin smuggled into the U.S. comes from China and is refined in Shanghai and Tietsin.

Federal Bureau of Narcotics was created.

Early 1940s During World War II, opium trade routes are blocked and the flow of opium from India and Persia is cut off. Fearful of losing their opium monopoly, the French encourage Hmong farmers to expand their opium production.

1945-1947 Burma gains its independence from Britain at the end of World War II. Opium cultivation and trade flourishes in the Shan states.

1948-1972 Corsican gangsters dominate the U.S. heroin market through their connection with Mafia drug distributors. After refining the raw Turkish opium in Marseille laboratories, the heroin is made easily available for purchase by junkies on New York City streets.

1950s U.S. efforts to contain the spread of Communism in Asia involves forging alliances with tribes and warlords inhabiting the areas of the Golden Triangle, (an expanse covering Laos, Thailand and Burma), thus providing accessibility and protection along the southeast border of China. In order to maintain their relationship with the warlords while continuing to fund the struggle against communism, the U.S. and France supply the drug warlords and their armies with ammunition, arms and air transport for the production and sale of opium. The result: an explosion in the availability and illegal flow of heroin into the United States and into the hands of drug dealers and addicts.

1962 Burma outlaws opium.

1965-1970 U.S. involvement in Vietnam is blamed for the surge in illegal heroin being smuggled into the States. To aid U.S. allies, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) sets up a charter airline, Air America, to transport raw opium from Burma and Laos. As well, some of the opium would be transported to Marseille by Corsican gangsters to be refined into heroin and shipped to the U.S via the French connection. The number of heroin addicts in the U.S. reaches an estimated 750,000.

1970 Controlled Substances Act was passed - divided drugs into categories, set regulations and penalties for narcotics

Legendary singer, Janis Joplin, is found dead at Hollywood's Landmark Hotel, a victim of an "accidental heroin overdose."

1972 Heroin exportation from Southeast Asia's Golden Triangle, controlled by Shan warlord, Khun Sa,becomes a major source for raw opium in the profitable drug trade.

July 1, 1973 President Nixon creates the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) under the Justice Dept. to consolidate virtually all federal powers of drug enforcement in a single agency.

Mid-1970's Saigon falls. The heroin epidemic subsides. The search for a new source of raw opium yields Mexico's Sierra Madre. "Mexican Mud" would temporarily replace "China White" heroin until 1978.

1978 The U.S. and Mexican governments find a means to eliminate the source of raw opium- by spraying poppy fields with Agent Orange. The eradication plan is termed a success as the amount of "Mexican Mud" in the U.S. drug market declines. In response to the decrease in availability of "Mexican Mud", another source of heroin is found in the Golden Crescent area- Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, creating a dramatic upsurge in the production and trade of illegal heroin.

1982 Comedian John Belushi of Animal House and Saturday Night Live fame, dies of a heroin-cocaine- "speedball" overdose.

Sep. 1984 U.S. State Department officials conclude, after more than a decade of crop substitution programs for Third World growers of marijuana, coca or opium poppies, that the tactic cannot work without eradication of the plants and criminal enforcement. Poor results are reported from eradicationprograms in Burma, Pakistan, Mexico and Peru.

1988 Opium production in Burma increases under the rule of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), the Burmese junta regime.

The single largest heroin seizure is made in Bangkok. The U.S. suspects that the 2,400-pound shipment of heroin, en route to New York City, originated from the Golden Triangle region, controlled by drug warlord, Khun Sa.

1990 A U.S. Court indicts Khun Sa, leader of the Shan United Army and reputed drug warlord, on heroin trafficking charges. The U.S. Attorney General's office charges Khun Sa with importing 3,500 pounds of heroin into New York City over the course of eighteen months, as well as holding him responsible for the source of the heroin seized in Bangkok.

1992 Colombia's drug lords are said to be introducing a high-grade form of heroin into the United States.

1993 The Thai army with support from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) launches its operation to destroy thousands of acres of opium poppies from the fields of the Golden Triangle region.

Oct. 31, 1993 Heroin takes another well-known victim. Twenty-three-year-old actor River Phoenix dies of a heroin-cocaine overdose, the same "speedball" combination that killed comedian John Belushi.

Jan. 1994 Efforts to eradicate opium at its source remains unsuccessful. The Clinton Administration orders a shift in policy away from the anti- drug campaigns of previous administrations. Instead the focus includes "institution building" with the hope that by "strengthening democratic governments abroad, [it] will foster law-abiding behavior and promote legitimate economic opportunity."

April 1994 Kurt Cobain, lead singer of the Seattle-based alternative rock band, Nirvana, dies of heroin-related suicide.

1995 The Golden Triangle region of Southeast Asia is now the leader in opium production, yielding 2,500 tons annually. According to U.S. drug experts, there are new drug trafficking routes from Burma through Laos, to southern China, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Jan. 1996 Khun Sa, one of Shan state's most powerful drug warlords, "surrenders" to SLORC. The U.S. is suspicious and fears that this agreement between the ruling junta regime and Khun Sa includes a deal allowing "the opium king" to retain control of his opium trade but in exchange end his 30-year-old revolutionary war against the government.

Nov. 1996 International drug trafficking organizations, including China, Nigeria, Colombia and Mexico are said to be "aggressively marketing heroin in the United States and Europe."

Booth, Martin. Opium: A History. London: Simon & Schuster, Ltd., 1996.

Latimer, Dean, and Jeff Goldberg with an Introduction by William Burroughs. Flowers in the Blood: The Story of Opium. New York: Franklin Watts, 1981

McCoy, Alfred W. The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade. New York: Lawrence Hill Books, 1991.

Musto, David F. The American Disease: Origins of Narcotic Control. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.

Contributing sources: PBS's Frontline and

From: "Allan S. Gleason" <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] DNA recovered from old Nevada mining town artifacts
Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2002 00:50:20 -0700
References: <>

Finally got around to reading the article. Obviously, it was written by a young
person who thinks that 125 years ago was a long time ago, i.e. ancient history!
Mark Twain (Sam C.) was there at about that time working for the local newspaper and
wrote all sorts of satirical stuff about Virginia City - even how he and some
friends hiked up to Lake Tahoe and inadvertently started a forest fire. He also
invested in some of the mines or claimed he did - and usually lost his shirt.

Mining was a rough business and certainly many minors were injured. The only pain
killers at that time were laudenum and morphine < >
I doubt that those who recreated on drugs had access to needles. Most of them
at that time smoked opium in Chinese pipes. You certainly never threw away a needle
or a syringe - they were too valuable! You resharpened them over and over again
even when I was in the military in the 1950's we sterilized and resharpened
needles. There was no such thing as a throw-away needle! I'm sure that it was a
doctor's office where the needles were found.

Virginia City in those days was not a staid city in Virginia with its segregation
and high society. It was a rough and tumble mining camp where people from all over
the world came to get rich - and most didn't. There were many blacks in the west by
that time so finding "black" DNA on a needle shouldn't be very surprising.

You're right, Ann. Determining sex isn't that easy. I wonder if that wasn't just a
little poetic license so the reporter could mention prostitution and related
diseases - makes the story more interesting. Don't you think that only mtDNA would
have survived the time?


Also in the post Civil War era wrote:

> This is believed to be the first time DNA has been recovered from historical
> artifacts -- in this case, a discarded syringe and six needles. According to
> the article, they were able to establish that there were at least four
> people, and at least one of African descent. I am guessing that mtDNA was
> analyzed for these conclusions.
> The article also mentions in passing that DNA can be used to establish
> gender. This would require nuclear DNA, probably testing the amelogenin gene
> which is found on the X and Y chromosomes. The gene on Y chromsomes is longer.
> u=/ap/20020225/ap_on_re_us/old_west_dna_1


Whether legal or illegal, opium is by far the most successful drug in human history. Over the course of centuries, opium has touched more people than aspirin.

Opium has inspired great art and literature, provoked wars and funded terrorists. Opium has been cultivated for its narcotic effects since the earliest days of recorded history, and even today, it's a huge component of mainstream medicine and the recreational mind-fuck market.

Derived from the poppy flower, opium is usually harvested as a resin extracted from the plant's seed pods. The resin can then be smoked or consumed in its raw form, or processed for intravenous application.

 Opium was cultivated for its narcotic effects at least as far back as 4,000 B.C., and possibly a lot further. In its least processed form, the drug conveys a sense of peace and contentment, in addition to alleviating pain.

The poppy was first grown in Sumeria, the Mediterranean, Europe and the Near East. The Ancient Greeks were big fans of the drug. In the Odyssey, Homer describes a drink commonly believed to be an opium-based concoction:

Then Helen, daughter of Zeus, turned to new thoughts. Presently she cast a drug into the wine whereof they drank, a drug to lull all pain and anger, and bring forgetfullness of every sorrow. Whoso should drink a draught thereof, when it is mingled in the bowl, on that day he would let no tear fall down his cheeks, not though his mother and his father died, not though men slew his brother or dear son with the sword before his face, and his own eyes beheld it.
Now that's good stuff. Homer was one of the earliest literary advocates of opium, but he was hardly the only one. Over the course of centuries, some of the greatest names in literature would sing the praises of opium, and many credited their work to the drug.

The roster of creative luminaries who used straight-up opium, to greater or lesser degrees, included Charles Baudelaire, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Allen Poe, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, John Keats, Bela Lugosi, William Burroughs, Jean Cocteau, Arthur Conan Doyle, Billie Holliday, Pablo Picasso and Percy Shelley. And that's just opium. We haven't even begun to talk about the poppy's refined derivatives yet, including heroin, morphine, and laudanum.

 "Everything one does in life, even love, occurs in an express train racing toward death. To smoke opium is to get out of the train while it is still moving. It is to concern oneself with something other than life or death," wrote Jean Cocteau, the French writer and filmmaker.

Another Frenchman, actor Antonin Artaud, credited his creativity rather creatively to the absence of opium. "It is not opium which makes me work but its absence, and in order for me to feel its absence it must from time to time be present."

British author Thomas De Quincey wrote one of the most famous tracts about the glories of opium, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, published in 1822. The book is a length poem to opium's splendors, full of rapturous passages describing his experiences with the drug, such as the first time he took it (to treat a toothache):

oh! Heavens! what a revulsion! what an upheaving, from its lowest depths, of the inner spirit! what an apocalypse of the world within me! That my pains had vanished, was now a trifle in my eyes: - this negative effect was swallowed up in the immensity of those positive effects which had opened before me - in the abyss of divine enjoyment thus suddenly revealed. Here was a panacea - a (pharmakon nepenthez) for all human woes: here was the secret of happiness, about which philosophers had disputed for so many ages, at once discovered: happiness might now be bought for a penny, and carried in the waistcoat pocket: portable ecstasies might be had corked up in a pint bottle: and peace of mind could be sent down in gallons by the mail coach.
As you can see, he kinda liked it.
Oh! just, subtle, and mighty opium! that to the hearts of poor and rich alike, for the wounds that will never heal, and for "the pangs that tempt the spirit to rebel," bringest and assuaging balm; eloquent opium! that with thy potent rhetoric stealest away the purposes of wrath; and to the guilty man, for one night givest back the hopes of his youth, and hands washed pure from blood; and to the proud man, a brief oblivion for Wrongs unredress'd, and insults unavenged; that summonest to the chancery of dreams, for the triumphs of suffering innocence, false witnesses; and confoundest perjury; and dost reverse the sentences of unrighteous judges...
Well, let's just note that it goes on. And on and on. Aside from promoting excessive verbiage, opium in its most basic form was relatively inoffensive at the physical level. Most of the negative health effects associated with opium use had to do with the fact that the habitual user eventually became obsessed with the drug, much like DeQuincey.

A true addict, DeQuincey tried to reduce his opium intake at various points during his life, and he even tried to quit once, for the sake of science and the completeness of his Confessions. He managed to go 90 hours before relapsing. DeQuincey resumed his opium use at a much lower level for a few weeks, but he was obliged to start using it heavily again when he found himself unable to review the final proofs of Confessions. As he explained at the end of the text, DeQuincey had to start using opium again so he could tell people what it was like to stop using opium. (No sacrifice is too great for the furtherance of science.)

Opium users like DeQuincey consumed the drug in a variety of forms. The earliest opium users simply ate the seeds and resin of the poppy plant, either by itself or baked into a cake or loaf. The flowers and other parts of the plant could be used for a more subdued rush. Later, users discovered that opium mixed well with other drugs, such as alcohol or nicotine.

One of the most popular preparations was laudanum, developed in the 16th century, in which opium was dissolved into alcohol as a beverage or tincture. Another hybrid, paregoric, was a combination of alcohol, camphor and opium used to treat diahrrea and persistent coughs. Both these products were given to children and even babies, either to treat illnesses or simply to quiet them down.

In recreational use, the combination of opium and tobacco created a booming industry of opium dens, strange surreal places where smokers of opium congregated to sit steeped in their euphoria. Arthur Conan Doyle wrote one of the most memorable descriptions of an opium den in his Sherlock Holmes adventure, The Man With The Twisted Lip, in which Dr. Watson sets off to rescue a family friend from iniquity:

Ordering my cab to wait, I passed down the steps, worn hollow in the centre by the ceaseless tread of drunken feet; and by the light of a flickering oil-lamp above the door I found the latch and made my way into a long, low room, thick and heavy with the brown opium smoke, and terraced with wooden berths, like the forecastle of an emigrant ship.

Through the gloom one could dimly catch a glimpse of bodies lying in strange fantastic poses, bowed shoulders, bent knees, heads thrown back, and chins pointing upward, with here and there a dark, lack-lustre eye turned upon the newcomer. Out of the black shadows there glimmered little red circles of light, now bright, now faint, as the burning poison waxed or waned in the bowls of the metal pipes. The most lay silent, but some muttered to themselves, and others talked together in a strange, low, monotonous voice, their conversation coming in gushes, and then suddenly tailing off into silence, each mumbling out his own thoughts and paying little heed to the words of his neighbour. At the farther end was a small brazier of burning charcoal, beside which on a three-legged wooden stool there sat a tall, thin old man, with his jaw resting upon his two fists, and his elbows upon his knees, staring into the fire. (...)
"Opium fiends" were often profiled as lean, haggard-looking individuals, mainly because pursuits like eating and grooming seemed insignificant when compared to the pursuit of precious, precious opium.

 Opium was so precious, in fact, that nations went to war over it. The most notable of these incidents were the Opium Wars of the 19th Century. The initial war over opium broke out between Britain and China. China had instituted a restrictive policy on foreign trade, which the British violated by smuggling opium into the country.

China banned imported opium, and destroyed a major British shipment, and the Brits responded by invading. China lost. Several years later, more or less the same dynamic broke out between China and the British, who were allied with the French the second time around. China lost again.

Around the same time, several significant developments were taking place in the world of opium. In 1803, a German pharmacist invented a method for distilling opium into an immensely more powerful form - morphine. The good news was that morphine was exponentially more effective than raw opium in treating pain and other illnesses. The bad news was that morphine was exponentially more addictive than raw opium, which was (as we have seen) pretty damn addictive in the first place.

 Things took a turn for the worse (or the better, depending on your perspective) with the introduction of heroin in 1874. The medical community and pharmaceutical companies like Bayer rushed to embrace both heroin and morphine, making them widely available over the counter in pharmacies by the beginning of the 20th century, when the tide of public opinion began to shift.

Although the new breeds of opium derivatives were insanely more addictive than their predecessor, the entire category of opiates was lumped together, and the public campaign against drugs of all kinds treated them as a single scourge in many cases.

In 1914, the U.S. passed the Harrison Narcotics Act, which restricted the possession and use of opium and its derivatives (as well as other drugs) to doctor-prescribed medications only.

It was, of course, ridiculous to suggest that drug use was somehow un-American. Benjamin Franklin used opium late in his life, albeit to treat severe pain. George Washington is also said to have believed in flower power, although he may have used it as laudanum, a derivative form.

Nevertheless, the 20th century saw a sharp increase in America's drug hysteria, fueled by racism directed against Chinese laborers who had come to the U.S. to help build the railroads and brought their cultural tradition of opium use with them. Many propaganda screeds invoked images of innocent white women lured into depravity in the opium dens of San Francisco and elsewhere.

Massive crops of opium poppies are still harvested every year in Southern Asia and South America, for both "legitimate" and "criminal" purposes. One of the most important opium economies in recent decades has been Afghanistan, where even in the middle of the U.S. invasion, farmers produced 3,400 tons of opium for shipment around the world.

Under the Taliban, opium exports were even higher. A 2003 study estimated that 75% of the heroin consumed in Europe is extracted from Afghan stocks. Opium and heroin trafficking out of Afghanistan totaled more than $1 billion in 2002. Both before and after the U.S. invasion, opium trafficking is believed to have helped fund al Qaeda and other terrorist groups from around Southern Asia.

While the consumption of raw opium is on the decline, demand for the poppy is still incredibly strong, since morphine has become a staple of medical anesthesia. Heroin and its derivatives are still extremely popular among recreational users. Opium may no longer be the "just, subtle, and mighty" drug of popular choice, but it will still be a cash crop for years to come, a fact that is no doubt a source of great comfort to Osama bin Laden, wherever he might be.



Opium was long used medically in the Middle East, India and China. Opium was introduced into Japan along with Chinese herbal medicine. Since the 1400s it was used there as a pain killer and there were no legal restrictions on its cultivation, possession or use. In China non-medical use of opium became popular from around the middle of the 17th century. Opium was mixed with tobacco and smoked in pipes, often in so called opium dens. Addicts would get so attached to the drug that they would rather go without food than the drug, if they didn't have money for both. In some parts of Southern China and amongst overseas Chinese in South East Asia more than one tenth of the population were habitual opium users, make the addiction almost as common as tobacco addiction is today. Non-medical use of opium was banned in China in 1729.




In an article which appeared in the New York Times, under date of February 14, 1919, we read: "A charge that the Japanese Government secretly fosters the morphia traffic in China and other countries in the Far East is made by a correspondent in the North China Herald in its issue of December 21st last. The correspondent asserts that the traffic has the financial support of the Bank of Japan, and that the Japanese postal service in China aids, although 'Japan is a signatory to the agreement which forbids the import into China of morphia or of any appliances used in its manufacture or application.'

"Morphia no longer can be purchased in Europe, the correspondent writes. The seat of industry has been transferred to Japan, and morphia is now manufactured by the Japanese themselves. Literally, tens of millions of yen are transferred annually from China to Japan for the payment of Japanese morphia. . . .

"In South China, morphia is sold by Chinese peddlers, each of whom carries a passport certifying that he is a native of Formosa, and therefore entitled to Japanese protection. Japanese drug stores throughout China carry large stocks of morphia. Japanese medicine vendors look to morphia for their largest profits. Wherever Japanese are predominant, there the trade flourishes. Through Dairen, morphia circulates throughout Manchuria and the province adjoining; through Tsingtao, morphia is distributed over Shantung province, Anhui, and Kiangsu, while from Formosa morphia is carried with opium and other contraband by motor-driven fishing boats to some point on the mainland, from which it is distributed throughout the province of Fukien and the north of Kuangtung. Everywhere it is sold by Japanese under extra-territorial protection."

The article is rather long, and proves beyond doubt the existence of a well-organized and tremendous smuggling business, by means of which China is being deluged with morphia. In the body of the article we find this paragraph:

"While the morphia traffic is large, there is every reason to believe that the opium traffic upon which Japan is embarking with enthusiasm, is likely to prove even more lucrative. In the Calcutta opium sales, Japan has become one of the considerable purchasers of Indian opium. . . . Sold by the Government of India, this opium is exported under permits applied for by the Japanese Government, is shipped to Kobe, and from Kobe is transshipped to Tsingtao. Large profits are made in this trade, in which are interested some of the leading firms of Japan."

This article appears to be largely anti-Japanese. In fact, more anti-Japanese than anti-opium. Anti Japanese sentiment in America is played upon by showing up the Japanese as smugglers of opium. The part the British Government plays in this traffic is not emphasized. "In the Calcutta opium sales, Japan has become one of the considerable purchasers of Indian opium . . . sold by the Government of India." We are asked to condemn the Japanese, who purchase their stocks of opium as individuals, and who distribute it in the capacity of smugglers. We are not asked to censure the British Government which produces, manufactures and sells this opium as a State monopoly. We are asked to denounce the Japanese and their nefarious smuggling and shameful traffic, but the source of supply, which depends upon these smugglers as customers at the monthly auctions, is above reproach. A delicate ethical distinction.

However, there is no doubt that the Japanese are ardent smugglers. In an article in the March, 1919, number of "Asia" by Putnam Weale, we find the following bit: * "At all ports where Japanese commissioners of Maritime Customs (in China) hold office, it is undeniable that centres of contraband trade have been established, opium and its derivatives being so openly smuggled that the annual net import of Japanese morphia (although this trade is forbidden by International Convention) is now said to be something like 20 tons a year-sufficient to poison a whole nation."

* " A Fair Chance for Asia," by Putnam Weale, page 227.

Mr. Weale is an Englishman, therefore more anti-Japanese than anti-opium. We do not recall any of his writings in which he protests against the opium trade as conducted by his Government, nor the part his Government plays in fostering and encouraging it.

However, there are other Englishmen who see the situation in a more impartial light, and who are equally critical of both Great Britain and Japan. In his book, Trade Politics and Christianity in Africa and the East," by A. J. Macdonald, M. A., formerly of Trinity College, Cambridge, we find the facts presented with more balance. Thus, on page 229: ". . . In the north of China another evil is springing up. The eradication of the opium habit is being followed by the development of the morphia traffic. . . . The morphia habit in northern China, especially Manchuria, is already widespread. The Chinese Government is alert to the evil, but their efforts to repress it are hampered by the action of traders, mainly Japanese, who elude the restrictions imposed by the Chinese and Japanese Governments. . . . China is being drenched with morphia. It is incredible that anything approaching the amount could possibly be devoted to legitimate purposes. It is said that in certain areas coolies are to be seen covered all over with needle punctures.' An injection of the drug can be obtained for three or four cents. In Newchang 2,000 Victims of the morphia habit died in the winter of 1914-15. Morphia carries off its victims far more rapidly than opium. . . . Morphia is not yet manufactured in any appreciable quantities in the East, and certainly even Japan cannot yet manufacture the hypodermic injectors by means of which the drug is received. The bulk of the manufacture takes place in England, Germany and Austria. . . . In this traffic, two firms in Edinburgh and one in London are engaged. The trade is carried on through Japanese agents. The Board of Trade returns show that the export of morphia from Great Britain to the East has risen enormously during the last few years.

1911 - 5.5 tons
1912 - 7.5 tons
1913 - 11.25
1914 -- 14

The freedom which allows three British firms to supply China with morphia for illicit purposes is a condemnation of English Christianity.

This book of Mr. Macdonald's was published in 1916. Mr. Weale's article was published in 1919, in which he speaks of an importation of about twenty tons of morphia. Apparently the three British firms which manufacture morphia, two in Edinburgh and one in London are still going strong. Japan, however, appears to be growing impatient with all this opprobrium cast upon her as the distributor of drugs, especially since much of the outcry against this comes from America. Our own country seems to be assisting in this traffic in a most extensive manner. The Japan Society Bulletin No. 60 calls attention to this:


The morphia traffic in China has taken a new turn, according to the Japan Advertiser. It quotes Putnam Weale to the effect that whilst in recent years the main distributors have been Japanese, the main manufacturers have been British. The morphia has been exported in large quantities from Edinburgh to Japan, but as the result of licensing the exports of this drug from Great Britain, the shipments to Japan dropped from 6oo,229 ounces in 1917 to one-fourth that amount in 1918. The Japan Chronicle, speaking from "absolutely authentic information," states that 113,000 ounces of morphia arrived in Kobe from the United States in the first five months of 1919. These figures are not given as the total shipments received in Kobe, but merely as the quantity of which The Chronicle has actual knowledge. It states further that this morphia is being transhipped in Kobe harbor to vessels bound for China. Dr. Paul S. Reinsch, who has resigned his post as Minister to China, has stated that he will use every resource in his power to stop the shipment from America of morphia intended for distribution in China, in defiance of the international convention which prohibits the sale of the drug in that country.

If sufficient publicity is cast upon the distributors, Japanese, English and American, public sentiment may in time take cognizance of the source of all this mischief, namely, the producer.



Drug Control: U.S. Heroin Program Encounters Many Obstacles in Southeast Asia (Letter Report, 03/01/96, GAO/NSIAD-96-83).

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed U.S. efforts to prevent heroin trafficking, focusing on the: (1) extent to which heroin poses a threat to the United States; (2) impediments to heroin control efforts in Southeast Asia; and (3) United Nations Drug Control Program's (UNDCP) effectiveness in Burma.

GAO found that: (1) Americans consume between 10 and 15 metric tons of heroin per year, which is at least double the amount consumed annually during the mid-1980s; (2) heroin use has increased mainly because the price has dropped significantly and the availability, quality, and safety of ingestion of heroin have increased; (3) there may be as many as 600,000 hardcore heroin users in the United States, and the user population appears to be rising; (4) the key to effective U.S. heroin control efforts is stopping the flow of heroin from Burma, which is responsible for about 60 percent of worldwide heroin production; (5) the United States' continued support of counternarcotics efforts in Thailand and effective relations with the Thai government have resulted in the abatement of heroin production and trafficking in Thailand; (6) although the U.S. has supported UNDCP drug control projects in Burma, projects have been largely ineffective, since they have been too small in scope, were inadequately planned, and have not gained support from the Burmese government; and (7) controlling heroin trafficking from Burma is difficult because U.S. human rights policy prohibits counternarcotics assistance to Burma, the Burmese government is not committed to drug control efforts, heroin-producing regions have different distribution methods, and China has not adequately cooperated with U.S. law enforcement in monitoring drug-trafficking routes from Burma.

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

REPORTNUM: NSIAD-96-83 TITLE: Drug Control: U.S. Heroin Program Encounters Many Obstacles in Southeast Asia DATE: 03/01/96 SUBJECT: Drug trafficking Narcotics Drug abuse Foreign governments International cooperation Foreign aid programs Foreign policies Organized crime Law enforcement Civil rights IDENTIFIER: Burma UN International Drug Control Program China Taiwan Thailand Hong Kong Afghanistan Colombia Laos New York (NY) Cambodia

 This file contains an ASCII representation of the text of a ** ** GAO report. Delineations within the text indicating chapter ** ** titles, headings, and bullets are preserved. Major ** ** divisions and subdivisions of the text, such as Chapters, ** ** Sections, and Appendixes, are identified by double and ** ** single lines. The numbers on the right end of these lines ** ** indicate the position of each of the subsections in the ** ** document outline. These numbers do NOT correspond with the ** ** page numbers of the printed product. ** ** ** ** No attempt has been made to display graphic images, although ** ** figure captions are reproduced. Tables are included, but ** ** may not resemble those in the printed version. ** ** ** ** Please see the PDF (Portable Document Format) file, when ** ** available, for a complete electronic file of the printed ** ** document's contents. ** ** ** ** A printed copy of this report may be obtained from the GAO ** ** Document Distribution Center. For further details, please ** ** send an e-mail message to: ** ** ** ** <> ** ** ** ** with the message 'info' in the body. **



Rise of drug trade threat to Afghanistan's security By Gregg Zoroya and Donna Leinwand,

SAYAD, Afghanistan — After decades of occupation and conflict, this nation is finally embracing democracy as returns from Afghanistan's first presidential election point to interim leader Hamid Karzai as the victor. But a competing power structure no Afghan voted for is lurking just off the political stage: a deeply rooted and ever-expanding opium industry.

Afghanistan is at once the world's newest democracy and its largest producer of heroin. This year the country had a record opium crop. The narcotic feeds 95% of Europe's addiction and generates an estimated $30 billion in revenue. Most comes from street sales outside Afghanistan.

But even the $2.5 billion that stays in Afghanistan amounts to a third of its economy. The money corrupts government officials, who tolerate trafficking, and finances warlords and terror groups like the Taliban who encourage cultivation and elicit protection money from smuggler.

National and international leaders say an infant democracy and a narco-economy cannot co-exist here. One must gain leverage of the other.

The country has made huge progress on the political side," says Antonio Maria Costa, director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna. "On the narcotics front, I would not only say there has been no progress, but a worsening of the situation."

Doug Wankel, a former Drug Enforcement Administration official who is point man for the U.S. counternarcotics initiative at the American Embassy in Kabul, says the opium industry is "financing terrorism. It's financing subversive activities. It's financing warlordism. ... And if it's a threat to the government of Afghanistan, it's a direct threat to the national security interests of the United States."

Final U.N. figures on this year's opium harvest will be out early next month. But officials like Robert Charles, U.S. assistant secretary of State for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs, predict a record opium poppy cultivation covering a cumulative area just less than 500 square miles — about the size of the city of Los Angeles.

Before anything can be done, the nation must select a new leader. By Tuesday, results from the Oct. 9 vote showed Karzai had 55.5% of the votes, 39 points ahead of his closest rival. An official announcement declaring Karzai the winner is expected later this week.

Costa, Wankel, Charles and others say that the president must move quickly to cleanse the government of drug-corrupted provincial governors and central government Cabinet ministers to begin reversing the drug's grip on Afghan government.

He needs to begin the process of wringing out any narcotic influence at any levels in order to be able to go forward," says Charles, whose office already is training Afghan police, border patrol officers, judges and prosecutors necessary to carry out a drug crackdown.

There is a growing sense of urgency within a U.S. administration eager to avoid any tarnish on what is otherwise a foreign-policy success story. "Amazing, isn't it?" President Bush exclaimed of the Afghan election at an Oct. 9 Iowa campaign stop. "Freedom is beautiful."

Andrew Natsios, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which is developing an alternative livelihood program to discourage Afghanistan farmers from growing poppies, says, "The president is quite concerned about this and has given us instructions to move this into high gear."

'Because we need the money'

Nowhere is the evidence of a rising drug tide more evident than among the dirt-poor, subsistence farmers of the small village of Sayad, 10 miles north of a sprawling U.S. military base at Bagram outside Kabul. Farmers tilling the arid fields and living in the mud-walled homes say they have lived for generations off the tomatoes, cotton, wheat, rice and corn grown on tiny parcels of land.

Until now. Last spring, the village was visited by men from Nangarhar Province, southeast of here astride the trade route from Kabul to Islamabad, Pakistan. The men came with poppy seeds and a promise to pay 10,000 Afghanis - worth $225 to $250  - for each kilogram or 2.2 pounds, of raw, harvested opium.

Mahrwouf, 20, who like many Afghans, goes by one name, says he and most of the other farmers took up the offer. On his five acres, Mahrwouf harvested just under 9 pounds of opium this year. He earned nearly $1,000, more money than he's ever seen. It paid off the debt from his wedding six months ago. "The villagers are very poor people, so they decided to plant the poppy," he says. "We'll do it again. Because we need the money."

In an agrarian nation where per-capita income is $186 a year, 16% of the roads are paved, 12% of the people have access to a sanitation system and barely two out of 1,000 have use of a telephone, that kind of cash crop is irresistible to the estimated 264,000 farmers.

Afghan Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani, a former World Bank official who spent 20 years in the USA, has for more than a year expressed concern that his country could tumble into a "narco-mafia state" where real power emanates from a group of drug kingpins, rather than a duly elected central government.

"Opium, unfortunately, is the ideal crop for a drought-stricken country and for a country where labor-intensive work is the demand," Ghani says. "It's a deeply threatening phenomenon."

He says the massive turnout in the election gives him hope that a leader with a popular mandate can move against a rising drug tide. The challenges include:

• Taking on warlords governing poppy producing provinces, such as Helmand and Nangarhar. Karzai has demonstrated a willingness to do this. Most recently, he replaced longtime-warlord Ismail Khan as governor of Herat and deployed U.S.-trained Afghan national army troops to provide security.

• Arresting drug kingpins, some of whom have sizable militias. Charles says there are six to 12 top Afghan smugglers who must be targeted. He identifies two: Haji Juma Khan, who has links with the Taliban, and former Taliban money supplier Haji Bashir Noorzai, who is tied to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terror network. According to House International Relations Committee testimony this year, Noorzai smuggles 4,400 lbs. of heroin out of the Kandahar region to al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan every eight weeks.

• Destroying drug labs and refineries. Thomas O'Connell, assistant secretary of Defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, has testified before Congress that the U.S. government, through various means including satellites, can pinpoint labs and refineries. Afghans just need the manpower to go after them.

• Instituting an alternative-livelihood program that goes beyond merely encouraging the growing of alternative crops. Rural development programs, education and even non-farm employment opportunities would need to be offered, according to a September study by the World Bank. This would require massive international funding, Ghani says.

The last step is crucial. According to the World Bank study, opium's grip on the Afghan economy, with its weak government and lack of security, is unprecedented because of the nation's reliance on drug revenue. So suffocating is the illicit industry here that if an internationally supported eradication and interdiction program was immediately successful, the economy would slip into a recession.

"Time is always our enemy," says Charles, who warns that the drug industry is becoming even more deeply entrenched in Afghan economy and society.

Under the December 2001 Bonn peace agreement that laid out a nation-building plan for Afghanistan, the British agreed to take the lead on counternarcotics, the Germans on training police and the Italians on building a judicial system.

The United States, tasked with building an Afghan national army, has provided the largest security force: 18,000 U.S. troops to pursue remnants of the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

But the other countries are not moving fast enough on their commitments, says Wankel, the Kabul-based counternarcotics coordinator. So the United States has stepped in with money and resources to push all three areas.

"They don't seem to have the same sense of urgency," Wankel says of the coalition partners. "Where we see it's not moving at the ... level or the speed we think, we're going to step in and we're going to work with them to help them get it to the level and to the speed which we think it needs."

He adds, "We really believe that within two years, we've got to see the pendulum swing."

Signs of growing sophistication

For now, the pendulum is moving in the wrong direction, according to the World Bank. Since the demise of the Taliban, the flowering plant has spread from the top-producing poppy provinces to 28 of the nation's 32 provinces. Poppy cultivation now employs an estimated 2 million Afghans, who can earn about $7 a day, more than two times the average scale for unskilled Afghan labor.

The opium they produce earns a farmer 57 times as much as wheat, the next most profitable crop. But it has had an insidious effect on the poorest planters. Farm prices for poppy have declined as production has increased. Many farmers, who borrowed to pay for staples to get them through the winter, are falling into debt. Rural credit lines for farmers would be another important facet of an alternative livelihood program.

Among the reasons officials feel a sense of urgency is that the drug industry here is not yet an organized, price-controlling cartel as with Colombia and cocaine. But the system is showing new signs of sophistication. In the past, most heroin was processed in neighboring countries along the smuggling route to Europe. Now, it's processed here.

Eradication efforts have had mixed results. A 2002 British-led initiative to destroy fields and compensate the farmers and an effort in 2003 to encourage local governors to destroy poppy crops failed. The compensation program only encouraged other farmers, eager for government compensation, to grow poppies. And local governors used their eradication efforts to punish enemies.

With British and U.S. assistance, there was limited success this year with interdiction and eradication by newly organized central government forces. Most notably, a British-trained 150-man commando-style unit known as the Afghan Special Narcotics Force in the past six months has destroyed 50 tons of opiates, 32 processing labs and made 20 arrests. The unit, also called Force 333, reports directly to Karzai and Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali, and uses U.S. transport helicopters and pilots to transport them on missions.

The United States, meanwhile, is paying Afghan laborers $10 a day to chop down poppy plants. Under this program, about 2,000 acres have been eradicated.

To offset the common practice of arrested drug dealers bribing their way to freedom, the United States will begin training a core Afghan group of 10 prosecutors, 10 police investigators and five judges to act as a special task force to prosecute high-profile drug smugglers.

The unit, Wankel says, should be up and running by March. It will work out of offices in a refurbished section of Pol-e-Charki Prison outside Kabul. Wankel says the new program could cost the United States $300 million to $400 million in the next few years.

Bill Rammell, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, who oversees British efforts in Afghanistan, says his nation is spending $150-$200 million on counternarcotics there.

"We do have the plans and the strategy in place to meet our targets and begin to reverse, I would hope, the tide by this time next year," Rammell says.

But Mahrwouf and other Afghan farmers who have limited choices and almost no enforcement see only opium in their future. "If the Americans would give me a job at Bagram air base," he says with a grin. "I would stop growing it."

Contributing: Zoroya reported in Afghanistan, Leinwand reported in Washington.

Indonesia aims to stem rise in HIV cases
Washington Post - Washington , DC , USA

JAKARTA , Indonesia -- The tattooed, tired-looking heroin addicts who navigate the capital's congested alleyways to get to this quaint Dutch colonial house every day are not looking for a fix. They come for the free needles and a chance to talk _ part of government efforts to stem the rise in HIV cases. The Stigma center _ named for the discrimination that many HIV-positive people face _ would at first seem out of place in Indonesia , a socially conservative country with a history of executing drug dealers and sending small-time users to prison. But with drug addicts accounting for as many as 80 percent of y critical to addressing the global TB crisis and achieving the Millennium Development Goals," said Ms. Schwalbe. "I am thrilled to help guide the Alliance 's work with policy makers, academics, activists, and private sector partners in the effort to develop a faster cure, affordable and accessible to those who need better medicines most."

Ms. Schwalbe holds a Masters of Public Health from Columbia University , a certificate from the Harriman Institute in Soviet Studies, and a Bachelor of Arts in Russian and Soviet Studies from Harvard University . Author of several peer-reviewed articles, she has served on the board of the European Observatory on Health Care Systems, and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Coalition. Ms. Schwalbe currently serves on the board of theennium Project's Task force on HIV/AIDS, Malaria, TB and Access to Essential Medicines.

About multi-drug resistant strains, and improve treatment of latent infection. The TB Alliance builds a portfolio of promising drug candidates, manages their development through cooperative deals with public and private partners, and provides staged funding and expert scientific and management guidanceopical Diseases in Singapore , the Korean Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT), University of Illinois at Chicago , Johns Hopkins University and the Research Triangle Institute. For more information, visit .

Asia-Pacific AIDS congress ends, calling for greater gov't support
Xinhua China, 5 July 2005

Nearly 3,000 people from more than 60 countries, including those in Africa and the Middle East, who took part in the ICAAP conference shared the recognition that the region is "at a crossroads" in terms of the epidemic, with 12 million new infections expected in the next five years without immediate action. Representatives of people living with HIV/AIDS such as sex workers and gays as well as their supporters demanded urgent action from each government, in line with previous declarations made at the United Nations and a ministerial conference on AIDS, including adequate health budgets.

"Every hour, more than 148 Asians contract HIV, the overall proportion of people in the region with advanced HIV infection receiving ARVs (antiretroviral treatment, an advanced therapy said to suppress HIV) remains pitifully low," said Periasamy Kousalya from India on behalf of key nongovernmental organizations.

"We demand that our governments work in equal and meaningful partnership with civil society, including people living with HIV and vulnerable populations, in addressing the control of the epidemic," she said, seeking enhanced counseling and testing as well as a reduced stigma related to the disease especially among healthcare workers.

Maura Mea, a Papua New Guinean HIV-positive who contracted the disease from her husband, said at the closing ceremony, "We need actions...and community-driven leadership. The voice of positive people needs to be strengthened and needs to reach out loud and clear to every government department in every country." Prasada Rao, director of the regional support team at the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, said that in a region where 1, 500 people die each day due to AIDS, "Business as usual is no longer an option."

Rao said that every government in the region agreed in 2001 on the goals in the UN Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, but not a single one has met them. "We don't need any additional commitments -- they already exist. What we need now is to act on them." Both Rao and Masayoshi Tarui, vice secretary general of the conference's local organizing committee, warned that Japan is facing AIDS-related problems similar to those in the rest of Asia .

Rao commended Japan for its 500 million US dollars pledge to a global fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, but urged the country to "intensify sex education in schools and prevention efforts in general" to counter the growing number of reports of infections among young people and men who have sex with other men.

Tarui lamented the apparent lack of interest in the HIV/AIDS issue in the country, which was represented by the absence of Japanese ministers at the meeting despite attendance by some ministers from other Asian countries. He also noted that Japanese participants accounted for only one- third of the total. Muthu Puravalen of the Asia Pacific Council of AIDS Service Organizations said at a press conference that it is meaningless to discuss political leadership without government participation, suggesting fund provision is not enough.

"It has to be 'Walk the talk'," he said. Masahiro Kihara, secretary general of the local organizing committee, said the Kobe conference helped enhance solidarity among those concerned about HIV/AIDS issues in Japan and other parts of Asia , and expressed his expectation that stronger ties will be an effective tool in the fight against the disease in the region. The next Asia-Pacific AIDS conference is slated to be held in Colombo in 2007. The Kobe gathering was originally scheduled to be held in 2003 but was put off due to the outbreak of SARS in the region that year.

The Seventh International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP)
Kobe , Japan : 1 - 5 July 2005
7th ICAAP: HDN Key Correspondent (KC) on-site reports

SEA-AIDS eForum Resource Team

Dear colleagues,

Find below a listing of the KC on-site reports from the 7th ICAAP conference available to date. Please forward this message onto anyone who might be interested. An updated listing will be sent out when all reports are completed.

7th ICAAP on-site reports available (as of 5 July 2005 ). All the reports are available at:

• Opening ceremony
• ARV expansion happening – but gaps in care services persist
• Beyond '3by5'
• Staying Alive with HIV during the long wait for ARVs
• Government-NGO cooperation – 'all-or-nothing' not the only way
• Making GIPA a reality – by 'using' national frameworks?
• HIV testing: Routinely offered or routinely imposed?
• Global Fund gets new cash injection from Japan , but may still face deficit
• Methadone comes of age, at last
• First, do no harm
• Getting HIV/AIDS back in focus
• We've Read It For You: A scaled up response to AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (UNAIDS, July 2005)
• HIV/AIDS in Japan : Warning signals not heard?
• MAP reports call specific services to reduce HIV risks on a large scale
• Where drugs and sex meet - nexus
• Women and young people on the move
• Fighting the epidemic with Islam in Malaysia

If you would like to view the ICAAP News, the daily on-site newspaper, it can be downloaded from:
The 7th ICAAP conference web site –
or the SEA-AIDS website –

To comment on or contribute to the KC on-site coverage, SEA-AIDS members can send postings to:


Free needles no solution

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The quality of life in New Jersey has been negatively affected by the rising gang crisis. Once viewed as an urban problem, gangs are taking over suburban, and now even rural, communities. The drug market is fueling the gangs and it's evident that gangs are becoming hungry for more power over the drug trade. As drug use and drug trafficking continue, the gangs are becoming stronger, more organized and increasingly violent.

Gang members aren't just killing members of rival gangs. Innocent children fall victim every day to gang-related crime. Gangs are bringing more guns into our state to fight for drug turf, and the victims are those in the community who can no longer go safely outside. Even during the day, senior citizens are afraid to walk to their neighborhood stores because of the violence on the streets. Children no longer feel safe when they walk to school, and working families have to barricade themselves inside their homes, hoping to avoid the gunfire outside their windows.

In order to stop the gangs, we need to stop the drugs. We need to reclaim our streets from the gangs by stopping the movement of guns and drugs into New Jersey, providing alternatives to joining gangs, and getting drug users off drugs for good.

Needle-exchange programs will not help the citizens of our state. Needle exchange does nothing to stop drug abuse or clean up our streets. A program that provides access to syringes says that we give up on the people of New Jersey and would rather hand out the tools to use drugs, than the tools people can use to better themselves and their communities.

I oppose the idea of handing out free needles to those on drugs, because it sends the wrong message. I feel we need to focus our resources on treatment -- not free needles. Some think that needles may help slow the spread of diseases, but free needles provide an excuse for drug users to put off facing the harsh truth that they need to stop abusing drugs. Free needles will allow gangs to continue to murder in the name of increasing their power in the drug market. Free needles will increase the number of homicides, suicides and overdoses. Free needles keep residents prisoners in their own homes, especially those in urban areas.

Even those who favor needle exchange in New Jersey agree about the need for a proven method to get people off drugs and reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS is treatment. I have been fighting hard for years to get funding for drug treatment. I have been pushing for the establishment of regional long-term care facilities and outpatient substance abuse treatment programs that would meet the needs of those in New Jersey who are living with HIV/AIDS. I will continue to work to get the resources that are needed to get people off drugs and back on track because I understand the pain and suffering that those on drugs go through every day.

I don't understand why we can approve millions of dollars for stem-cell research without knowing what the outcome of that research will be. We know that drug treatment works, yet we have only one residential long-term care HIV/AIDS treatment facility. I understand why we approved about $200 million for mental-health patients for residential treatment and other help they need, but I do not understand why some legislators would deny the same type of assistance for those with HIV/AIDS.

I am the sponsor of S-445, a bill to create at least three long-term care facilities and three outpatient substance-abuse treatment programs. The facilities would be located in the northern, central and southern areas of the state. Treatment facilities would provide on-site mental-health services; substance-abuse treatment and counseling; physician, dental and social work services; speech/language pathology assistance and literacy classes.

My bill also calls for similar outpatient treatment programs. It's very sad that state government wants to provide free needles in order to address the health-care problems where the majority of the victims are African-Americans, Latinos and women. With more needles on the streets, we are keeping drug users junkies for the rest of their lives and allowing gang members to continue to wage deadly wars in our communities.

Minorities and women are people too. They want to be off drugs-- not on drugs. They want to have homes -- not be homeless. They want to have jobs -- not be jobless. The bottom line is that they want to be an asset to their families and their communities. The question is: Why are some legislators opposed to this reality?

Sen. Ronald L. Rice is a Democrat who represents to 28th District. He also is a member of the New Jersey Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

Malaysia fights looming AIDS epidemic
25 Oct 2006 18:03:31 GMT
Source: Reuters
By Liau Y-Sing

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25, 2006 (Reuters) - Ex-convict Jonah Chan is a casualty of Malaysia's losing battle against AIDS.

In 1984, he was jailed for three years for robbery. He came out a drug addict and is now infected with the AIDS virus.

"I contracted HIV by injecting drugs. I shared needles," said 41-year-old Chan who has been in and out of a home for reforming drug addicts and convicts in Kuala Lumpur for the past 15 years.

"Drugs were cheaper in prison because there were a lot of big pushers," he explained, sitting in the living room of an old double-storey brick house he shares with 23 other residents.

Malaysia, a conservative, mainly Muslim country, has some of the world's toughest anti-drugs laws. But the HIV virus is spreading rapidly due to illegal drug use and a lack of sex education, raising fears of an epidemic.

Delivering a loud wake-up call to the government, the World Health Organisation warned last year that Malaysia was on the brink of an HIV epidemic.

Until recently, Malaysia refused to adopt policies proven successful elsewhere -- including in fellow Muslim countries Iran and Pakistan -- such as providing clean syringes to drug addicts.

At the start of 2006, HIV cases in Malaysia totalled 70,559 in a population of about 26 million, while 10,663 patients had full-blown AIDS, official data showed.

The numbers are much lower than Thailand which has 560,000 HIV patients, but Malaysian health officials are worried by the exponential rise in HIV cases.

In 2005, new AIDS cases in Malaysia totalled 1,221 compared with 233 in 1995.

By contrast, neighbouring Thailand has more than halved the number of new HIV infections over the past decade, thanks to aggressive promotion of condom use among sex workers.

"For HIV, the trend has been always upward in Malaysia and we're getting very worried," Malaysian Health Minister Chua Soi Lek, who was appointed to the post in 2004, said in an interview.

"People are in a state of denial," he added.


Only last year did the government start handing out free condoms and needles -- a move it had earlier opposed on grounds that it promoted free sex and rampant drug usage.

It now plans to spend 500 million ringgit ($136 million) on programmes to combat AIDS, including needle distribution.

HIV is most commonly spread in Malaysia by drug users, with male AIDS patients outnumbering females by about 10 to 1.

About 60 percent of those believed to have HIV were Malays -- the largest and most religiously conservative of Malaysia's ethnic groups. Most of them were unemployed.

AIDS activist groups blame inadequate enforcement of drug laws and a lack of sex education for the rapid rise in cases.

"The reality is we're losing the war," said Pax Tan, a leader of a Christian group involved in combating HIV and drug use.

The government is starting to fight back.

HIV education will soon be taught during the national service programme for youths, Chua said, after surveys showed a rise in unprotected sex and widespread ignorance about HIV among youth.

Government data showed that about a quarter of AIDS cases from 1986 to 2005 involved those between 13 to 29 years of age.

"With the funding promised by the government, we are very confident that we'll be able to see a plateau in the rate of increase, maybe by 2010 or 2009," Chua said.


Despite Malaysia's growing affluence and western trappings, the country remains outwardly conservative on sex.

Kuala Lumpur -- which started in the mid-19th century as a tin settlement with brothels, gambling booths and opium dens -- is packed with clubs brimming with drugs and alcohol but is also a place where kissing and hugging are forbidden in public parks.

With no sex education at schools, some youths believe that HIV can be transmitted by mosquitoes, fleas or bedbugs.

Religious leaders are deeply opposed to the distribution of free needles and condoms.

"(It) will encourage people to have free sex. We must address the root of the problem," said Ahmad Awang, a spokesman at the Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS), the country's largest Islamic opposition party.

Instead he suggested tightening government controls on entertainment outlets and night-time curfews for youths.

Wong Kim Kong, of the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship Malaysia, believes traditional values may stop the spread of AIDS rather than free condoms and needles.

"Abstinence is the most important habit that we need to develop," he said. ($1=3.6700 ringgit)

Slow start for needle exchange

Controversial program designed to limit the spread of AIDs

Posted Saturday, October 7, 2006
Drug prevention specialist Rochelle Booker speaks with a 20-year-old man in Wilmington this week about sexually transmitted diseases. Her employer, Brandywine Counseling, has been hired to run the pilot needle-exchange program approved by the Legislature in June. (Buy photo) The News Journal/JENNIFER CORBETT

A van soon will cruise through Wilmington's toughest neighborhoods, stopping to give free needles to drug addicts carrying state-issued blue-and-gold ID cards.

The five-year pilot program, passed by the state Legislature in June, is designed to slow the spread of AIDS. It will cost more than $300,000 in the first year and is expected to start in February.

It will operate only in Wilmington.

The lagtime between the program's passage and its implementation was designed to give officials time to answer the many murky legal questions involved in providing fresh needles to people with an illegal habit. City police remain leery of the program and concerned about possible ramifications.

"I deal with all the collateral damage," Wilmington police Chief Michael Szczerba said at a meeting last week of a committee set up to guide the program through its launch.

The delayed startup also is meant to help educational outreach efforts aimed at police and residents, many of whom stridently oppose the program, and addicts, who live underground lives and are wary of coming to the van.

Such efforts are key to the program's success, said Basha Closic, a drug prevention specialist for Brandywine Counseling, the group hired by the state to run the needle-exchange program.

"We have been trying for 10 years to get this law passed," she said. "Before the van rolls out, we want to be sure we do the advance work right."

Addicts will come to the van to sign up for the program. Once signed up, participants will hand in one dirty needle in exchange for a new, sterile needle. HIV testing will be offered through the van, as will treatment opportunities for HIV management, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and counseling.

In 2004, Delaware had the nation's sixth-highest AIDS infection rate. Through 2004, 48 percent of the state's AIDS patients were intravenous drug users or people who had sex with them -- 17 percent higher than the national average.

Legal questions abound

Several questions came up at a recent meeting of the committee overseeing the program's implementation. Szczerba and other critics said the law is short on specifics for handling tough scenarios.

There were so many unanswered questions that committee Chairman Dr. Jaime Rivera, the director of the state's Division of Public Health, decided state prosecutors and police officers need to meet this month with health officials and social workers who will run the program. Together, they will draft a set of guidelines that will determine how such situations will be handled.

The oversight committee will review the guidelines in early December, Rivera said.

Szczerba, a longtime detractor of the program, raised several issues:

•Are his undercover drug agents supposed to ignore addicts who line up at the van if it makes a stop where a surveillance operation is taking place?

•What should his officers do if they catch someone with one program needle and one illicit one?

•Can his officers arrest someone after a vehicle chase that starts in the city but ends in New Castle County, where the law says people are not exempt from prosecution for having a program needle?

Effects on society questioned

In addition to the tricky scenarios Szczerba expects his officers to face while on patrol, he worries about broader effects, too.

"What about officer apathy? Will they be less likely to make an arrest for possessing illegal needles now that they're told it's OK for some people to have them?" he said. "How about community apathy? Will a family who sees someone injecting drugs in a park not call the police to report it after they've heard about a program saying some needles are OK to have?"

State Rep. John C. Atkins, R-Millsboro, a lead opponent of the program, said he remains troubled by a law that allows minors to get free needles without parental consent.

"I think a parent would rather see their child taken to a treatment center than getting a free needle," he said. "And will the state get sued if a kid ODs with a needle given to them by the government?"

Atkins also wants to know if a young addict in the program can take a legal needle to school.

City Public Safety Director James Mosley wants to know -- especially with a rash of recent deaths linked to fentanyl-laced heroin -- if the people who run the program would give police needles that could be evidence in a criminal case.

It's unclear, too, when addicts will get cut off if they repeatedly come to the van with nonprogram needles in exchange for program needles. When the program is introduced, addicts will be able to bring an illicit needle to the one-for-one exchange program. But they won't be cut off right away if they return with another dirty one, state health department representative Jim Dickinson said.

Those are the types of questions the guidelines will try to address, Rivera said.

State Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington East, who fought for years to get the program passed, said the obstacles are not unexpected -- or insurmountable.

"This is the law, and now we need to make it work," she said, noting the oversight committee was formed to deal with such issues.

Law passed; disagreement looms

Obvious tension existed between the program's supporters and detractors at the recent committee meeting, held last week at the Delaware Health and Social Services' campus on U.S. 13 near New Castle.

Henry noted that the majority of Wilmington council members supported the program.

Szczerba said that's irrelevant, noting that the council has opposed the Patriot Act as well.

"I enforce the law and accept that this one has been passed," he said.

Szczerba and state health officials said officers and neighborhood groups will be alerted that the vans will be coming.

Health department worker Dickinson said certain details of the program must be kept confidential so that addicts can trust the program enough to use it. For example, he's against providing civic groups with detailed information about times and locations of vans in their neighborhoods and wary of helping police too much with investigations.

Contact Adam Taylor at 324-2787 or

Participants in Wilmington's needle exchange pilot program, who will have to get state-issued identification cards to use the program, will be able to exchange a used needle for a new, sterile one at a van that will travel through the city. The program is open to all intravenous drug users, including minors, who live in Wilmington.

The short-term goals include: * HIV testing for 80 percent of participants within 90 days of enrollment. * Getting 80 percent of those testing positive into HIV treatment. * Getting 40 percent of those patients to accept referrals. * Getting 25 percent of those who accept the referrals to show up. * Keeping public protest or resistance to the program low.

The midterm goals include: * Reducing needle-sharing by 15 percent. * Getting 20 percent of clients to enter detoxification centers. * Getting five clients into drug treatment a year.

The long-term goals include: * An ongoing increase in the number of people getting HIV tests. * Reducing HIV rates of partners of IV drug users by 5 percent. * Reducing the number of AIDS-diagnosed people by 25 percent.