Event Title

The Power of the Poppy: Identifying the Key Factors Fueling Opium Cultivation and Production in the Golden Crescent and the Golden Triangle

Faculty Mentor

Michael Lipscomb, Ph.D., and Jennifer Disney, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Political Science

Location

DIGS 114

Start Date

20-4-2018 12:45 PM

End Date

20-4-2018 1:00 PM

Description

Considered at one time to be as valuable as gold, opium and its derivatives, some legal and some illegal, have become ever-present in both the medical field and the criminal underworld. As production of these substances increases, so too does their societal impact. This paper explores the two major regions of the world where a majority of opium and opium derivatives are produced: the Golden Crescent and the Golden Triangle. An array of distinct similarities are shared between the two regions and highlighted in this paper. My findings indicate four major factors that influence opium production: a history of imperial control, high levels of poverty, ineffective government policies, and the presence of heavily armed, highly organized criminal organizations. Each factor by itself indicates a major issue, but combined they form a chain of crime and human suffering that extends back over 500 years to the first influx of predatory European trade. Impoverished farmers, out of necessity, grew opium which was then purchased and processed by criminal organizations. These organizations thrived under the ineffective policies enacted by the governments of the regions. The goal of this research is to explore and unravel the mutually reinforcing factors that form a Gordian knot of crime, poverty, and narcotics trafficking in these two regions, the effects of which hold major implications, both national and international.

Course Assignment

PLSC 490 – Lipscomb, Disney

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Apr 20th, 12:45 PM Apr 20th, 1:00 PM

The Power of the Poppy: Identifying the Key Factors Fueling Opium Cultivation and Production in the Golden Crescent and the Golden Triangle

DIGS 114

Considered at one time to be as valuable as gold, opium and its derivatives, some legal and some illegal, have become ever-present in both the medical field and the criminal underworld. As production of these substances increases, so too does their societal impact. This paper explores the two major regions of the world where a majority of opium and opium derivatives are produced: the Golden Crescent and the Golden Triangle. An array of distinct similarities are shared between the two regions and highlighted in this paper. My findings indicate four major factors that influence opium production: a history of imperial control, high levels of poverty, ineffective government policies, and the presence of heavily armed, highly organized criminal organizations. Each factor by itself indicates a major issue, but combined they form a chain of crime and human suffering that extends back over 500 years to the first influx of predatory European trade. Impoverished farmers, out of necessity, grew opium which was then purchased and processed by criminal organizations. These organizations thrived under the ineffective policies enacted by the governments of the regions. The goal of this research is to explore and unravel the mutually reinforcing factors that form a Gordian knot of crime, poverty, and narcotics trafficking in these two regions, the effects of which hold major implications, both national and international.