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ANTH106-Opiates-text-version-of-lecture-notes-outline -...

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ANTH 106: POLITICAL ECONOMY OF OPIATES Botanical and pharmacological characteristics of opiates Opium is the sap of a particular kind of poppy ( Papaver somniferum ). Morphine is one of the 23 alkaloids found in opium. The morphine content of opium is about 10 per cent. Heroin is a synthesis of morphine and the industrial acid, acetic anhydride. Opium: Areas of Cultivation Areas of illicit cultivation: a. Golden Triangle (N.E. Burma/Myanmar, N.Thailand, N.Laos) b. Golden Crescent (parts of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran) Opium is cultivated legally for pharmaceuticals in 19 countries including India, China, Japan, Turkey, France, U.K. and Australia (Tasmania). The Trocki thesis The development of capitalism in Europe was linked to the expansion of drugs and drug economies. Drugs (alcohol, tobacco, tea, coffee, sugar) provided the first mass consumer markets due to their addictive qualities. The problem of the tea trade with China: drain on European silver supplies. Opium as the solution to the trade deficit with China. In 1773 the East India Company (EIC) was granted a monopoly over production and sale of opium, following British colonisation. Opium became a fully capitalist commodity – mass produced and with a mass consumer market:
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a. Opium cultivated, under strict control, in Bengal by more than a million farmers. b. EIC created a well organised system of packaging, storage, pricing and quality control. c. The mass market was China and S.E. Asia. Opium addiction and mass consumer markets 15 million Chinese opium addicts by 1830s.
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