Drug Policy

Get Set for Another Record Opium Crop


The latest U.N. estimates indicate that Afghanistan's opium crop this year may exceed last year's, which set an all-time record. How we'll know for sure: if former drug czar Barry McCaffrey claims Afghanistan's opium production has been cut in half.

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  1. Can we make some sort of Grand Bargain with the DEA? Like, we’ll double their anti-Meth and anti-Ecstasy budgets if they’ll halve their efforts on Opium and Coca?

    With a worldwide opiate shortage and serious geopolitical instability arising, this is becoming incredibly dangerous.


  2. So much for my heroin futures.

  3. Woohoo!

  4. Praise God for the war on terror

  5. On the plus side, it’s another club (and a big one) for bashing the Anti-Drug Warriors. Silver lining, ill wind, etc.

  6. Somewhat interesting story on NPR this PM.

    Apparently after the overthrow of the Taliban farmers returned to their fields and produced a bumper crop of wheat.

    However US food aid (mostly tons of wheat, mandated to be bought from US farmers) continued to pour into the country. Wheat prices collapsed leaving Afghan farmers with wheat in their fields that was not even worth harvesting.

    The next year Afghan wheat farmers made the sensible decision to put their fields into poppy production.

  7. “Get Set for Another Record Opium Crop”

    OK. How would you recommend I do that?

    Isaac, fascinating.

  8. Re: Isaac’s comment – I’ve heard the same thing happened in South America – US food crops over produced by gov’t funded farmers were dumped on South America, leading many farmers in the region to switch to coca.

    Oh, what a tangled web we create – When first we practice to legislate…

  9. Yea, the UN is so good at all of their others estimates I will believe this one too.

    Is smack cheaper than gum yet? It is 1824 at this post.

  10. I’ve heard the same thing happened in South America – US food crops over produced by gov’t funded farmers were dumped on South America…

    Actually this is not the first time this refrain has been sung.

    The negative effects of food aid on local farm production has been observed in a number of countries.

    Incidentally the mandate for US food aid to take the form of food purchased from US farmers is a Congressional mandate which the Bush Administration is hoping to change. That would like to have a quarter of the food aid budget diverted to purchase crops from countries closer to where food emergencies occur in the hope that they might be able to reduce delivery lag times. For example they would have loved to purchase some of the Afghan wheat surplus for use as food aid but current rules would not allow that.

    When asked about the likelihood of a change in the law the current Chairman of the Agricultural Committee (from Minnesota) replied “Not gonna happen”. (sigh), I suppose that a Congressman from MN is as likely to be in favor of changing farm policy as one from FL is to change on Cuba policy.

  11. We should do what we did for Turkish opium in the ’50s–arrange for the entire crop to be bought by morphine manufacturers.

    What with there being a war and all, painkillers seem like a good thing to lay in a supply of.

  12. How are we ever going to beat “terrorism” if we can’t even best a flower?

  13. That could antagonize the 2 million farmers whose livelihoods depend on growing poppy,

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