Drug Corporations Push Taliban Opium for Medical Use

Susanne Posel, Contributor
Activist Post

In 1998, scientists at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, discovered that noscapine could be used to combat tumors. Noscapine is derived from the opium poppy plant; the same source of heroin and the painkiller, morphine.

The drug version, called noscapine, is used as a cough suppressant in some countries. It is now being praised as a promising cancer-fighting agent.

Noscapine has been used in trial testing on animals and human cancer cells. It has proven to be effective in shrinking breast and prostate tumors; while possibly being a preventative for metastasis (the spread of tumors throughout the body).

The production of noscapine may prove difficult because of the labor-intensive methods used to extract the natural chemical. While industrial manufacturing of commercial opioids are froth with chemicals necessary to produce drugs, they are low on noscapine or are not present at all.

Since 1998, a new study by scientists at the University of York and funded by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, proves that synthetic noscapine (engineered opium) can be created by cross-breeding poppy plants and enhancing the production of noscapine by clustering together 10 genes responsible for its production.

Tim Bowser, co-author and lead researcher and developer for GlaxoSmithKline’s Australian opiates division said:

The fact that the genes are grouped in a cluster means that plant breeding becomes faster and easier. [We] are using this discovery to develop high-yielding commercial noscapine poppies in order to establish a reliable route of supply.

Australia produces large quantities of legal opioids. After negotiations in the ’60s and ’70s, the US government imports opium from Turkey for medical use.

The opium harvest fields in Afghanistan, controlled by the US military, are the perfect stores to obtain large amounts of poppy plants for study by drug corporations.

Most of the opium grown in Afghanistan is under the supervision of the Taliban and US troops in the region. While the Taliban has imposed a ban on opium production just after the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001, the Northern Alliance, which was supported by the US military, began protecting the fields where the raw production of opium was most prevalent.

The UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime oversee the UN’s Drug Control Program which estimates that in 2006, Afghanistan supplied 92% of the world’s opium.

In conjunction with the CIA, NATO and British military forces, Afghanistan has been forced to continue its opium growing operations.

Writer William Blum said:

CIA-supported Mujahedeen rebels [who in 2001 were part of the Northern Alliance] engaged heavily in drug trafficking while fighting against the Soviet-supported government and its plans to reform the very backward Afghan society.

However, the UN and WHO are more concerned with keeping the supply of opium flowing for “medical purposes” which is extremely profitable.

The World Health Organization (WHO) surmised that there is a severe shortage of opium-derived pain medications. The UN assumes Afghanistan could produce as estimated 4,200 tons of opium that WHO could be using to treat those patients in severe pain.

The discovery of synthetic opium could be the answer WHO was looking for.

Physicians have been using noscapine off-label to treat cancer because it is approved for use in some countries. Research data suggests noscapine could be a treatment for:

  • ovarian cancer
  • myeloma
  • lung cancer
  • colon cancer
  • breast and prostate tumors

In 2009, Johnson & Johnson purchased Cougar Biotechnology, a pharmaceutical corporation, with the express purpose of getting into the synthetic opium industry. They intended to cash in on the laboratory-created chemical and will push for more trials since the discovery of GlaxoSmithKline.

Susanne Posel is the Chief Editor of Occupy Corporatism. Our alternative news site is dedicated to reporting the news as it actually happens; not as it is spun by the corporately funded mainstream media. You can find us on our Facebook page.

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