Opium. Uncovering the politics of the poppy

Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy / 2010 /Harvard University Press.

The book sets out to expose the politics of opium. In particular it explores the world’s two major regions for illicit production of opium and heroin – the Golden Triangle of Burma, Laos and Thailand and the Golden Crescent of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. These remote mountainous regions of Southeast and Southwest Asia produce more than 90 per cent of the world’s illicit opium. The book reveals how, when and why illicit opium production emerged and what sustains it. The text exposes the real drivers of the modern day trade in opium and shows why a century of international effort, and forty years of a US-led war on drugs, have failed to eradicate it.

Licensing Afghanistan’s opium: solution or fallacy?

Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy / 2008 / Caucasian Review of International Affairs.

For almost two decades Afghanistan has been the world’s largest illicit opium producer. Decades of war, droughts, poverty, and political incapabilities have driven up the country’s opium production despite counter-narcotics programmes ranging from forced eradication to alternative development. In 2005, that is, a few years after the replacement of the Taliban regime by the Karzai administration, the licensing of Afghan opium for the production of legal medicines such as morphine and codeine was proposed as a solution to address illicit Afghan opium production. This proposal benefited from a very positive stance of the world press, in spite of its many inaccuracies and fallacies.