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  1. Terrapinzflyer
    City cops lay first charges for selling poppy-based drug

    Staff at a northeast grocery store peddled an illegal opium-based drug, police alleged Wednesday, announcing the first criminal charges laid by Calgary police for trafficking and producing narcotic.

    Charges are pending against a middle-aged man and woman after police alleged they bought the drug at Desi Bazaar at 5120 47 St. N.E.

    Doda, derived from the opium poppy, which also yields heroin, is made by crushing dried opium poppy pods into a powder which is brewed into a herbal tea.

    Calgary police drug unit Staff Sgt. Darren Cave said the case speaks to an emerging nationwide trend, while warning the public that doda, like other street narcotics, is dangerous and addictive.

    “The message we want to get out is, this substance is illegal,” Cave said.

    It “is no different than selling or buying crack cocaine.”

    Officials seized about 60 kg of opium poppies, about 13 kg of powder-form doda and $10,000 in cash at the store.

    They did not release a dollar amount for the seizure but said a search of the store yielded evidence it was also being produced there.

    Last September, Canada Border Services confiscated about 7.3 tonnes — worth about $14.5 million in street value — of the narcotic pods in two semi trailers in Calgary labelled as carrying “dried grasses,” and “dried flowers.”

    While doda — which sells for about $20 an ounce — offers users a quick high followed by a sense of calm, police stress it can lead to severe side-effects and even addiction.

    The Calgary police drug unit created a Doda Working Committee made up of members from other police agencies, including the RCMP, and the CBSA to try to get a grip on the situation before it escalates in this city.

    Cave said this week’s discovery is likely the tip of the iceberg of the presence of the drug in Calgary.

    “From our experience where’s there’s one, there’s more,” he said.

    Last year police in Edmonton found about 73 kg of the drug in an east Indian grocery store.

    Last Updated: 3rd February 2010, 6:16pm


    There is video news footage embedded in the story HERE


  1. jon-q

    Grocer spared jail term for selling narcotic 'doda' from Calgary store

    CALGARY — A northeast Calgary grocer who used opium poppies to make narcotics he then sold from his store has been spared jail.

    Queen's Bench Justice Sheilah Martin imposed a 16-month conditional sentence on Manjit Dhahan, who pleaded guilty to selling and producing doda, a narcotic made by grinding seed pods taken from opium poppies.

    Dhahan, 54, was charged in 2010, after an undercover city police officer bought doda during two visits to Desi Bazaar, a grocery store selling South Asian specialties in the 5100 block of 47th Street N.E.

    The officer, who like Dhahan speaks Punjabi, said the drug was for his grandfather's bad back pain. On each occasion, the officer bought a 40-gram package of doda for $20.

    A later search of the premises uncovered 57.76 kilograms of the plants, which hadn't yet been ground into powder.

    Once processed and packaged, a Crown expert estimated the total street value of the poppies was $28,800.

    Police also seized more than $10,000 in cash, digital weigh scales, packages of doda and empty plastic bags from the store and an upstairs suite.

    "This was clearly a commercial operation," Martin said.

    Although little case law exists for doda, Martin noted it belongs to the same drug family as opium — although it's a less potent form.

    Doda users experience a quick high, followed by a sense of calm. Experts consider it addictive.

    Doda is commonly used in countries such as India, Pakistan, Iran and many other countries, including Colombia. It's most commonly consumed by brewing the powder into a tea.

    Authorities in North America have encountered doda use among immigrants those countries — often by truckers, taxi drivers, and other shift workers as a means of staying alert.

    While Martin said she had no information about doda's effect on the local community, she added its addictive properties mean it's exacting the same "human costs" as other illegal drugs.

    The fact doda is commonly used by people who drive or operate machinery is also troubling, Martin said.

    "The danger to (users) and to the public is obvious," she said.

    Jason van Rassel
    Vancouver Sun 16th Sept 2011

  2. enquirewithin
    Consumption of the opiate doda, an illegal and addictive concoction made from dried poppy pods, is out of control in Metro Vancouver's South Asian community, say experts in Surrey.

    Dr. Gulzar Cheema said doda has been popular in the South Asian community for years and is currently sold under the counter in many pawnshops, video stores and other retail outlets.

    Doda is a powder made by grinding the seed pods of opium poppies and is usually used to make a type of tea.

    Police have ignored the problem for so long, it's now as common as marijuana in some circles, said Cheema.

    He said recovery from doda addiction can be severe.

    "Loss of appetite, tremors, panic, panic attacks," Cheema said. "You get stomach cramps; some people get diarrhea and vomiting."

    Growing problem
    Doda addiction is now the second biggest substance-abuse problem in the South Asian community, Surrey addictions counsellor Rajpal Singh said.

    "It's spread a lot and it's spreading more," Singh said. "It is a big problem."

    Doda users are often construction workers or truckers who use the drug to help them stay awake through long work shifts. Opiates often trigger bursts of energy before eventually causing pronounced tiredness in users.

    RCMP spokesman Const. Michael McLaughlin said police have not been ignoring the doda problem but have been involved in long-running investigations.

    "We are going to go after the big fish," said McLaughlin. "We are going to go after people who are doing the most law-breaking and causing the most harm."

    McLaughlin said the opium poppy crop that was seized in Chilliwack on Aug. 23 was likely owned by an organized crime group that might have been growing the crop for the doda market.

    RCMP are recommending charges against two men who were tending the field of about 60,000 poppy plants when police raided the site. The bust was the largest poppy seizure in Canada to date.


    Interesting-- I have never heard of doda before. If it is made from opium poppy pods, is it not really an opium preparation, rather than a new drug?
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