|"The cocaine found in a shipping container", SCMP photo|
Another example of the idiocy is Afghanistan. It produces the most and best of the world's opium. Local farmers rely on it; no other crop -- not almonds, not raisins, not chickpeas -- provides the income of poppies. They supply 90% of the world's heroin.
At the same time Africa is severely short of analgesics like morphine.
For the price of about two weeks' cost of the US troops in Afghanistan, the whole of the Afghan poppy crop could be bought, converted into legal morphine (in factories within Afghanistan, providing further employment) and shipped to Africa -- say, by the World Health Organisation -- for free use by poor patients.
Thus it would be two birds with the one stone: (1) legitimise the crop in Afghanistan and remove the criminal element (Taliban gang-controlled) and (2) provide pain relief in Africa.
This would not be easy to be sure. The gangs controlling the poppy to opium to heroin trade ex Afghanistan are hardly likely to go without a fight.
But how much better than the current futile effort to eradicate it: creating enemies from the farmers and making illicit profits for the Taliban; while African poor stay in pain.
My letter below the fold: [links in the original]: