Three stories on opium in Afghanistan and Iraq.
First up is a post from Henry Bowles @ Foreign Policy.com on kids toking up, and getting toked, in Afghanistan.
Even more disturbing is the fact that, according to the United Nations, some 600,000 of those addicts are under 15. In some areas of the country, giving opium to children is a common method of treating insomnia, bad behavior, and “ADD”-like symptoms.
From an Al-Jazeera report: “Zarbibi routinely blows opium into [her three year old son’s] face to keep him quiet. It is the only way she knows how to free herself so that she can work.”
Second is Nykrindc who notes Iraqi farmers are turning to the cash crop. The likely beneficiary: Shi’a militants.
Third is Peter Marton, of the State Failure Blog, who suggests forced poppy eradication may not be as helpful as we think. Instead, infrastructure and opportunities should be created to provide alternatives to switch to instead of the blinding halt without replacement income options.