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  1. #1
    Mid
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    Notorious Golden Triangle loses sway in the opium trade


    Tongpoh Singya, 80, a farmer in Laos, now grows rice, sunflowers, pumpkins and other crops. But four years ago, before the authorities destroyed them, his land was full of poppy fields. (Thomas Fuller/IHT)

    Notorious Golden Triangle loses sway in the opium trade

    By Thomas Fuller
    Published: September 11, 2007



    BANNA SALA, Laos: Fields of brightly colored opium poppies, Corsican gangsters and the CIA's secret war: The mystique of the Golden Triangle clings to the jungle-covered mountains here like the morning mist.
    But the prosaic reality is that after years of producing the lion's share of the world's opium, the Golden Triangle is now only a bit player in the business.

    Three decades ago, the northernmost reaches of Laos, Thailand and Myanmar produced more than 70 percent of all opium sold worldwide, most of it refined into heroin. Today the area averages about 5 percent of the world total, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

    "The mystique may remain, and the geography will be celebrated in the future by novelists," said Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the UN anti-drug agency, in an interview. "But from our vantage point, we see a region that is rapidly moving towards an opium-free status."

    The Golden Triangle has been eclipsed by the Golden Crescent - the poppy-growing area in and around Afghanistan that is now the source of an estimated 92 percent of the world's opium, according to the United Nations, which bases its statistics on satellite imagery of poppy fields.

    The shift to Afghanistan has led to a near doubling of global opium
    production in less than two decades because Afghanistan is a much more efficient opium producer. Poppies are grown in fertile valleys of southern Afghanistan where they yield on average of four times more opium than in the less hospitable soil of upland Southeast Asia, UN data shows.

    snip

    iht.com

    continueshttp://www.iht.com/articles/2007/09/11/asia/golden.php

  2. #2
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    Yeah, from opium... to meth. At least poppy fields are pretty to look at.

  3. #3
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    The "golden triangle" was always more than a place where opium was grown. It has been a crossroads and the trade in gems, drugs and other valuable, sometimes illegitimate, goods. It still is.

    I've been wandering in the hills alone within a few hundred meters of the Myanmar border and had rather pointed advice given on places that were better for a hike than the direction I was headed by local Tai yai & Hmong. Nice of them to care.

    I think it's rather sad that opium cultivation has been so radically curtailed. For centuries opium was a right of passage, a gentle relief from the aches and pains of old age. It is so much easier & profitable to move refined product than bulk opium. The hill folk are denied what has always been the luxury of gentle dreams of their ancestors.

    We have synthetic heroin & morphine manufactured by drug companies. The USA has created a false war on drugs while permitting the sale of things like bourbon, white-lightening, tobacco and your doctor can certainly get you a nice bag of valium if you're a bit too tightly wound. Oh, these things are controlled and taxed, to be sure. The little guy that grew some ganja or a field of poppies is wiped out, under the threat of prison even death while dealers in the country that started it all are given three years probation and a slap on the wrist.

    Without market there is no problem. By eliminating the golden fields in the triangle we have moved them to Afghanistan, the hills of columbia, peru; creating fortunes for the new "drug lords." Eradicating the fields has done nothing to slow the flow of heroin into western countries. before western influence came to the "Golden Triangle" There really wasn't a problem opium was grown smoked and traded for cloth, silver, food, livestock. The idea of refining it importing it and selling it to impressionable school age kids is purely a western one.

    Seems like every where the European (western, round-eye, whiteface) influence goes we fuck things all up. Yeah, we bring roads, and laws schools and hospitals some of the times. But still, we do like to fuck things up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankenstein
    Yeah, from opium... to meth. At least poppy fields are pretty to look at.
    When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty -- T. Jefferson


  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by friscofrankie View Post
    I think it's rather sad that opium cultivation has been so radically curtailed. For centuries opium was a right of passage, a gentle relief from the aches and pains of old age. It is so much easier & profitable to move refined product than bulk opium. The hill folk are denied what has always been the luxury of gentle dreams of their ancestors.

    " There really wasn't a problem opium was grown smoked and traded for cloth, silver, food, livestock. The idea of refining it importing it and selling it to impressionable school age kids is purely a western one.
    well FF, that is a romantic view on opium

    the fact that it is addictive and causes a lot of problems does not seem to feature in that vision

    the British used opium to control and supress the Chinese over 100 years ago, well before the refining and Western trade

    mind you, it is a nice drug when used carefully
    I have reported your post

  5. #5
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    to true FF... amazing all the legal shit..we can have and yet what mother nature provides is off limits..

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrAndy
    the fact that it is addictive and causes a lot of problems does not seem to feature in that vision the British used opium to control and supress the Chinese over 100 years ago, well before the refining and Western trade
    Yes I know again, it was the western influence and before the refining process was available. The fact that is was used for centuries before without all the problems associated with it by the people that grew it.

    We can enter the discussion of addiction (an over-used word IMO), legally available problematic drugs (alcohol is the easiest whipping boy and by far the most popular) there are others. But let's not.

    I know people younger than me that were treated with opium by their grand parents for things such as the pain of scorpion bite and injuries when they were younger. Their Grandparents would occasionally smoke opium recreationally without living some horrific "life of addiction." it's not an instant hook like some would have us believe.

    I'm not trying to romanticize opium but the problems associated with it and it's derivatives and a Western introduced phenomena. I'm sure before white man came along there were a few hop-heads that lived only for the pipe, and there were skirmishes and territorial \battle fought over it just as there would be with anything of value. Drugs, gold & silver, gems and even spices have all had battle fought over their control.
    Historically Opium has played a part in the culture of many of the peoples of the "golden triangle."

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    the poppy-growing area in and around Afghanistan that is now the source of an estimated 92 percent of the world's opium
    Unfortunately, the ragheads don't know how to refine No 4.

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    I have been around that stuff mopst of my life, but it just wasn't my thing.
    Kinda like smack, I have been around it and the folks that did it, but i would look at them layed back and think, "Thats fun" bullshit
    went in some opium dens when I was young, guys was going in to smoke, but it didn't look like nothing I ever did that was fun.

    As addictive as I am I am sure glad I never did that much dope, didn't really enjoy MJ unless I was drunk, I wouldn't even fool with that.

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    The new tea growing area around Doi Mae Salong is right nice. I was up there 30 years ago when the KMT were still running opium mule-trains. I'd say the the mountain tea resorts are a nice improvement.

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    I bet you can still get opium in Van Vieng (backpacker's paradise). I certainly saw many slowly trying to mouth their orders in the cafe.

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    ^I've heard that too. Now you get a 30 entry stamp. Interesting.

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    Yes, poppy cultivation continues in Laos.
    One of the government export cash crops, but use is not tolerated there. Punishment is harsh, similar to Thailand, indulge at your own risk.

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    ^Definitely something to bear in mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hootad Binky View Post
    I bet you can still get opium in Van Vieng (backpacker's paradise). I certainly saw many slowly trying to mouth their orders in the cafe.

    I never saw anything like that

    there are no opium fields there, but maybe it comes from over the hills

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    Quote Originally Posted by stroller View Post
    Yes, poppy cultivation continues in Laos.
    One of the government export cash crops, but use is not tolerated there. Punishment is harsh, similar to Thailand, indulge at your own risk.
    When I was there 7 years ago a cop tried to sell us half a kilo of pot as we sat out side a cafe with a bunch of rowdy backpackers, everyone rolling from little piles of marijuana on the tables. My wife eventually told him in Lao to go home to his wife and he took off, abashed. The hitherto stroppy young Englishmen were stunned into paranoid silence during the increasingly heated exchnge. Eventually, one of them broke the following silence with: "What did he say?" And my wife responded "He said he could sell you half a kilo or more, but not more than one kilo, or the military will shoot him." They all quietly went to bed after that

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    That's very interesting and also true. Burma's time as the poppy capital of the world is passed. Today, this war is centred on Afganistan and Pakistan. Oh, boy, here we go again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hootad Binky
    I bet you can still get opium in Van Vieng (backpacker's paradise). I certainly saw many slowly trying to mouth their orders in the cafe.
    Most likely but you would have to lie down with Israeli's if you wanted to get high.

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    ^
    No, this business is run by rather unsavoury Laotians who are on yabaa most of the time.

  19. #19
    Mid
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    apparently there are the usual two or more sides to the story .......



    Burmese opium production soaring

    By Bethany Bell
    BBC News, Vienna


    Thai efforts to eradicate opium production have been successful

    There has been an alarming increase in opium production in Burma, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

    The findings come from a new UNODC report on drug production in South East Asia's so-called Golden Triangle.

    The report says opium cultivation in parts of the region has dropped dramatically over the past few years. But Burmese opium production is on the rise because of corruption and weak border security.

    snip

    news.bbc.co.uk

  20. #20
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    Opium production is a reality. There will always be small pockets of it grown for domestic use in the mountains. My wife's family grow some of it because there are quite a few elderly members in the village that need it to deal with pain due to age and various maladies. They can purchase legal medicine in Chiang Mai but can't afford it so they grow their own. In the old days they grew it for a cash crop now the Army turns a blind eye on their activities as long as it doesn't get excessive or sent out of the area.

    The production of it for commercial purposes in Myammar, Laos and Afganistan will continue simply because it is the only real cash crop available to them. While there are users in the west that will pay for it there will be people willing to produce and transport it to them. Nothing has changed in the process, just the locations go on a rotating roster.

  21. #21
    Mid
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankenstein View Post
    Yeah, from opium... to meth. At least poppy fields are pretty to look at.

    March 3, 2008

    Chiang Mai – Despite a slight upswing in opium cultivation, the United States says Burma's position as the global leader in methamphetamine production now poses the greater threat to the region.

    Dubbing the region the "Ice Triangle", a reference to the burgeoning production of amphetamine-type stimulants in the area famously known as the "Golden Triangle", the 2008 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report warns that subduing illicit trade will require the Burmese government to work closely with both domestic and international actors.

    snip

    mizzima.com


    ..........................................


    International Narcotics Control Strategy Report -2008

    Released by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
    March 2008

    Southeast Asia

    Burma

    snip

    Burma’s overall decline in poppy cultivation since 1998 has been accompanied by a sharp increase in the production and export of synthetic drugs, turning the Golden Triangle into a new “Ice Triangle.”

    Burma is a significant player in the manufacture and regional trafficking of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS). Drug gangs based in the Burma-China and Burma-Thailand border areas, many of whose members are ethnic Chinese, produce several hundred million methamphetamine tablets annually for markets in Thailand, China, and India, as well as for onward distribution beyond the region.

    There are also indications that groups in Burma have increased the production and trafficking of crystal methamphetamine or “Ice”—a much higher purity and more potent form of methamphetamine than the tablets.

    snip


    Laos

    snip

    Methamphetamine and similar stimulants constitute the greatest current drug abuse problem in Laos.

    The abuse of methamphetamines, once confined primarily to urban youth, is becoming more common among rural peoples in highland areas and has had some visible impact on virtually every socio-economic group in Laos.

    The scope of this problem has overwhelmed the country’s limited capacities to enforce laws against sale and abuse of illegal drugs, and to provide effective treatment to addicts.

    Methamphetamine in Laos is largely consumed in tablet form, but drug abuse treatment centers report admission of a growing number of users of injected amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS).

    Continued emphasis on drug abuse prevention through comprehensive drug awareness programs, and greatly increased capacity to provide effective treatment to addicts, are both essential to control the growth in domestic demand for ATS.

    snip


    Thailand

    snip

    There is, effectively, no cultivation or production of opium, heroin, methamphetamine or other drugs in Thailand today although various regional and international drug trafficking networks use Thailand as a transit nation as well as a market for sale of drugs produced in Burma and elsewhere.

    Use of low-dosage methamphetamine tablets produced in Burma of caffeine, filler, and methamphetamine—known locally as “ya ba” or “crazy medicine”—slightly decreased from 2006 although “ya-ba” remains Thailand’s most-commonly abused illicit drug.

    Recent emergence of crystal methamphetamine or “ice” production in the Shan State of Burma worries Thai authorities, who believe that its more intense addictive nature could cause an increasing impact on domestic Thai consumption.

    snip

    state.gov

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