Afghan opium shortage a bunch of poppycock?

Looks like there’s going to be a lot less high people in Afghanistan, because according to a story at, opium production has dropped significantly in the country because of a plant infection in the country’s war-torn south.

Apparently, Afghanistan produces 92 percent of the world’s opium, and 2010 production is down 48 percent from last year, according to the 2010 Afghan Opium Survey, released last week by the United Nation’s Office on Drugs and Crime. The decrease was largely due to a plant infection hitting the major poppy-crop growing provinces of Helmand and Kandahar particularly hard, the report said. The current infection attacks the plant’s roots, climbing up the stem and causing the opium capsule to wither away, the report says.

It’s said that insurgents in Afghanistan finance their operations through the opium trade, and that prices of opium are rising after a decline from 2005, as the decline has pushed prices up. Despite the drop in production, opium farmers made more money.

So what does this mean for the U.S.? More money for opium farmers means more money for insurgents. It also means probably less drugs and higher prices here in America.

Although the shortage sounds like a bunch of poppycock to me—they probably just want to raise prices—I’m thinking that just maybe I should hold onto my stash of Afghani opium, just in case there’s a long drought.

By Felicia Dechter

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