In 2008 we produced Raw Opium, an investigation of the pain, pleasure and profits that surround the raw opium trade. We travelled the world to uncover how opium is grown and refined into Heroin in Afghanistan, and then transported and used in North America, Europe and worldwide. We revealed the forces that make the illegal narcotic trade possible, even amidst a strict system of enforcement and drug policy. We also discovered alternative methods of drug policy, such as Portugal’s bold initiative to decriminalized all drugs.
Today, the issue of raw opium based drug use and the damage that it causes society is still present. We want to share the following article from the New York times which can be considered the next chapter of the story Raw Opium. You can read about the evolution of the drug trade and the war that’s still being waged against it.
The importance of the heroin trade to the Afghan economy and the Taliban is astonishing. Heroin accounts for 16% of Afghanistan’s GDP. The narcotic makes up at least 60% of the Taliban’s income. At the end of raw opium’s journey from the fields of asia to the streets of North America, an even more astonishing number exists. 90% of heroin found on the streets of Canada originates from Afghanistan.
Traditionally, the Taliban were profiting extensively from the raw opium trade by taxing sales of manufacturers and from revenues gained by providing security services to manufacturers. However, with an increasing amount of discoveries of opium refineries throughout the country, it’s apparent that the Taliban are strategically becoming producers and owners of opium refineries in order to increase their profits. As an attempt to suppress the opium trade, approximately $8 billion per year are spent by the US, funding American elite forces war on raw opium.
The story that we tell in our documentary ‘Raw Opium’, is just as relevant in today’s discussion about the raw opium market. To watch Raw Opium you can view it on our Vimeo On Demand Page.