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Opium: Uncovering the Politics of the Poppyby Pierre Arnaud Chouvy
Synopses & Reviews
Known to the Greeks as opos or opion, as afiun in Persian and Arabic, and fuyung in Chinese, opium is at once a palliative and a poison. Its exotic origins, its literary associations, and the properties that are, often erroneously, attributed to it have ensured an ongoing air of mystery.
Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy reveals the long and fascinating history of a powerful and addictive drug and explores the changing fortunes of the modern-day illicit opium trade, especially in the remote regions of Asia. He answers key questions: Why have anti-drug policies failed despite four decades of increasing effort? And what are the shortcomings and limitations of forced eradication, alternative development, "silver bullets," and other quick fixes? In answering these questions, Chouvy draws upon geography, anthropology, politics, and development studies. He shows that the history of opium production is unexpectedly linked to the history of Afghanistan.
A compelling account of a narcotic as old as humanity, Opium offers powerful insights into the complex politics and economics of the poppy in the world today.
"Chouvy, a research fellow at France's Centre National de la Recherch Scientifique and an expert on opium production, offers a timely and provocative study of 'the politics and economics of the poppy in Asia.' Despite the 'broad adaptability' of the poppy, Asia accounts for 96% of the world's illicit opium, with war-ravaged Afghanistan alone supplying a staggering 93%. Chouvy meticulously recounts the poppy's very political history, concluding that while illicit production tends to flourish in areas where violence restricts state control, most 'Asian opium farmers grow poppies in order to combat poverty.' Moreover, America's futile 40-year war on drugs has failed (and continues to fail) because it relies on inefficient and counterproductive eradication and crop substitution efforts to reduce supply without addressing the 'root causes' of production — i.e., poverty and food insecurity. Exhaustively researched and cogently argued, Chouvy's analysis of the geopolitics of narcotics should be required reading for policymakers, stakeholders, and concerned citizens." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Pierre-Arnaud Chouvyis currently a Research Fellow at the <>Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). He presented the opening speech at the G-8 special meeting in Paris on drug routes in Central Asia. He is also the creator of the website <>geopium.org.
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Health and Self-Help » Recovery and Addiction » Drug and Alcohol Addiction