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Drug info - Where do the pharmaceutical companies get opiates from?

Discussion in 'Opiates & Opioids' started by whocaresdude91, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. whocaresdude91

    whocaresdude91 Silver Member

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    Where do the pharmecutical companies get their Papaver somniferum supply from? Do they buy it from Afghanistan? Do they milk the plant in factories to get the alkoloids needed to produce the synthetic opiates? Is there a documentary on this? It's kind of interesting.

    Thanks for the info.
     
  2. bean.

    bean. Titanium Member

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    Re: Where do the pharmacutecal companies get it from?

    Most of the opiods used in pharmacuticals are bought from New Zealand, but there are a few fields in the UK. There's an article in the news forum of poppies in the UK.
     
  3. Seaquake

    Seaquake Gold Member

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    Re: Where do the pharmacutecal companies get it from?

    I beleive Tazmania in Australia is a major supplier as well. I'm sure I saw something on the news a while back about it, though I can't think why unless they were after some Poppy "tourists".
     
  4. jon-q

    jon-q Gold Member

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    Re: Where do the pharmacutecal companies get it from?

    Apparently opium poppy cultivation is undertaken for pharmaceutical use by at least nineteen countries in the world (Australia, Austria, China, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, India, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Macedonia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom) only four of them produce opium: China, India, Japan and South Korea.
    Among these India is the only exporter of opium. The other countries actually grow opium poppies, harvest the poppies (“poppy straw”), and produce concentrate of poppy straw.

    The above info was taken from this document: https://drugs-forum.com/forum/local_links.php?action=ratelink&catid=105&linkid=10768
    It’s a little out of date (2008) so things could well have changed since it was published.

    I’m not sure how accurate this information is, but if you have a genuine interest in this, it should make for interesting reading.


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  5. whocaresdude91

    whocaresdude91 Silver Member

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    Re: Where do the pharmacutecal companies get it from?

    Thanks guys, it's amazing that a simple plant can produce so much pleasure (and horrible addiction). I am assuming they extract the four alkoloids from the plants (Morphine, Codeine, Thebaine, Noscapine(?) ) and take it from there!
     
  6. EscapeDummy

    EscapeDummy Palladium Member

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    Re: Where do the pharmacutecal companies get it from?

    The Oxycontin Express is a very interesting documentary, although not directly related to the subject, that is it doesnt explicitly focus on Pharma. Still good though
     
  7. jon-q

    jon-q Gold Member

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    Re: Where do the pharmacutecal companies get it from?

    Just lifted this from the Australian "Department of Justice" website, it relates to the Poppy Advisory & Control Board.

    History

    The Australian opiate alkaloid industry is based on a poppy straw extraction process invented by Hungarian chemist, Janos Kabay, in 1931.

    This process extracts the opiate alkaloids from the dry capsules of the mature poppy (Papaver somniferum) plant and bypasses the opium stage - previously the only way of obtaining opiates from the poppy plant. It is considered the safer method for commercial production of opiates.

    Developmental work based on the Kabay process was done by the CSIRO during World War Two in a number of Australian States, including Tasmania.
    Pilot production began on the North West Coast of Tasmania in 1964.

    The then Department of Agriculture carried out a range of agronomic trials investigating weed competition and herbicides, cultivar assessment, nutrition, plant density, irrigation, and optimum times for sowing, drilling and harvesting.

    This work provided the basis for the industry, which is now considered the most efficient and highest yielding per hectare in the world.

    The first season of commercial production began in 1970.

    In 1972, a joint decision by Commonwealth and State Governments restricted the growing of Papaver somniferum to Tasmania. This led to the establishment of the Poppy Advisory and Control Board.

    The industry

    With an annual average crop yield of around 2.5 tonnes per hectare, Tasmania supplies about half of the world's medicinal opiate market.

    The Australian industry is based on the processing of dry poppy plant material - poppy straw - principally for the production of codeine and thebaine.

    Opiate alkaloids are extracted from the dry capsules of the mature poppy plant Papaver somniferum and up to 15 cm (six inches) of the upper stem.

    The seeds, which are free of opiates, are not used in the extraction process.

    After separation from the poppy straw, they are cleaned, graded and bagged for export.

    As well as cultivation and initial processing, much of the extraction of medicinal products is undertaken in Tasmania. Some manufacturing is also undertaken in the neighbouring state of Victoria.

    The Australian industry's strong commitment to research and development has been enhanced by highly sophisticated agricultural and chemical processing techniques, with evident success.

    Tasmania is considered the world's most efficient producer of poppies with the highest yield per hectare of any opiate-producing country.

    Who can grow poppies?

    A poppy crop can only be grown in Tasmania by a farmer who has a contract with a manufacturing company and a licence from the Tasmanian Government. Contracts and licences are issued on an annual basis.

    There are three manufacturing companies in the State licensed to extract the medicinal products from the poppy straw after harvesting. They are Tasmanian Alkaloids Pty Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline Australia and TPI Enterprises Ltd.

    The crop is grown on the better soils of the north west coast, north east coast, the midlands, east coast, Derwent Valley and south-east areas.

    Poppies complement a range of crops in the farm rotation and when grown well, will yield around 2.5 tonnes per hectare. There are, on average, 800 growers cultivating about 25,000 hectares of poppies annually in Tasmania.

    Poppy production in Tasmania

    One of the State's major agricultural export earners, an average of 1,000 Tasmanian farmers are contracted to grow poppies. The area of land under poppy cultivation has now grown to more than 25,000 hectares.

    Poppies are grown in a minimum three-year crop rotation cycle. Because the crop should not be grown in the same field in consecutive seasons, poppies are ideally suited to mixed crop and livestock farming enterprises.

    Field officers employed by the licensed poppy processing companies are responsible for the agronomic management of the crop including arranging contracts, sowing, spraying and harvesting.

    Sowing is from early winter to spring, flowering in early summer and harvesting in mid to late summer (December to March). Biologically mature plants are harvested when the seed capsules, which appear after flowering, are very dry.

    Large mechanical harvesters are used, employing a minimum number of people, all of whom have security clearances. The small amount of poppy stubble remaining in fields after harvest is destroyed as part of Tasmanian Government licensing controls.

    Uses for the poppy crop

    The poppy has been grown for centuries in many European countries where the seed is used for culinary purposes and for its oil.

    In Tasmania, the crop is grown for the production of morphine, codeine and thebaine. These alkaloids are extracted from the poppy straw and used in the manufacture of pain killing drugs and in cough mixtures.

    The seed of the morphine plant can also be used in cooking and the Tasmanian variety can be recognised by its distinctive blue-grey colour.

    Seed from thebaine-enhanced poppies is not sold for culinary purposes.

    Poppy seeds

    Although poppy seeds for culinary use are gathered from the opium poppy, poppy seeds have no effective narcotic content.

    Blue poppy seeds are used mostly in European cooking while the slightly smaller white ones are a regular feature in Indian recipes. Both have a pleasing, nutty taste that goes well with breads, biscuits and cakes.

    Ground poppy seeds are a common thickening agent in the Mughal cooking style
    of Northern India to obtain the sweet, milk, nutty flavour and aroma.

    The nutty taste of poppies is also much loved by the Japanese and used for the subtly flavoured dishes typical of Japan. The poppy seeds grown as a by-product in Tasmania are available in supermarkets all over Australia.

    Medicines

    The Tasmanian poppy industry is based on processing dry poppy plant material and is principally for the production of morphine, codeine and thebaine.

    Morphine is the principal alkaloid in the opium poppy. It is a powerful analgesic narcotic and like other opiates, it acts directly on the central nervous system to relieve pain.

    Side effects include impairment of mental performance, euphoria, drowsiness, lethargy and blurred vision. It also decreases hunger and inhibits the cough reflex.

    Morphine is highly addictive and tolerance and physical dependency develop quickly.

    Morphine is medically prescribed for the relief of moderate to severe pain and is found in various preparations.

    Primarily, it is given as subcutaneous, intravenous or epidural injections. Orally, it comes as an elixir or in tablet form. Morphine is rarely in suppository form.

    Codeine is the most widely used, naturally occurring narcotic in medical treatment in the world. This alkaloid is found in opium in concentrations ranging from 0.7 to 2.5 per cent. Codeine is also the starting material for the production of two other narcotics, dihydrocodeine and hydrocodone.

    Codeine is medically prescribed for the relief of moderate pain and cough suppression.

    Compared to morphine, codeine produces less analgesia, sedation, and respiratory depression, and is usually taken orally. It is made into tablets either alone or in combination with aspirin or acetaminophen (i.e. Tylenol with Codeine).

    As a cough suppressant, codeine is found in a number of liquid preparations. Codeine is also used to a lesser extent as an injectable solution for the treatment of pain.

    Thebaine, a minor constituent of opium, is controlled under international law.

    Thebaine is not used therapeutically, but is converted into a variety of substances including oxycodone, oxymorphone, nalbuphine, naloxone, naltrexone, and buprenorphine.

    Statistics

    Due to confidentiality requirements, statistics on poppy production are not available.

    Information about the activities of the Poppy Advisory and Control Board is available in the Board's Annual Report, contained within a section of the Annual Report of the Department of Justice.

    Security

    The Australian industry offers a dual security guarantee in the commercial cultivation and manufacture of opiates.

    Tasmania is ideally positioned geographically and demographically to strictly manage and monitor opiate production. A compact state that is separated from the Australian continent, the island's poppy production is limited to three distinct regions away from the two major population areas of Hobart and Launceston.

    Drug-related offences among Tasmania's small, regional populations are also relatively low.

    The Australian Federal Government and the Tasmanian State Government share responsibility for control of the poppy industry, with close co-operation between controlling and law enforcement authorities.

    During the growing and harvesting season, crops are regularly monitored by Poppy Advisory and Control Board field officers and any illegal activity is investigated by Tasmania Police Poppy Task Force Officers.

    The second major advantage is the industry's method of processing.

    Growing poppies for poppy straw and using an extraction process which bypasses the opium stage further insures against leakage of opiate raw materials into the illicit market.


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  8. Jgswitchz

    Jgswitchz Newbie

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    Re: Where do the pharmacutecal companies get it from?

    Would anyone happen to know the poppy straw extraction process the Australian government uses ?
     
  9. mer kaba

    mer kaba Silver Member

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    Re: Where do the pharmacutecal companies get it from?

    Afghanistan... what do you think we're up to over there?
     
  10. Twan

    Twan Newbie

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    Re: Where do the pharmacutecal companies get it from?

    how come there isn't any fields in the U.S for pharmaceutical companies or even illegal growing?
     
  11. seaturtle

    seaturtle Titanium Member

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    Re: Where do the pharmacutecal companies get it from?

    There's plenty of legal fields in the U.S. I've bought dozens of pounds of poppy seeds and they were all from fields within the US. Gotta be alot of illegal poppies too.

    Poppies grow in the wild as well.

    This is why the drug war is futile.
     
  12. EmergencyGrant24

    EmergencyGrant24 Newbie

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    I thought they purchased poppy straw concentrate from countrys in the middle east like Afghanistan? Then made it inro Thebaine? And then into other things....
     
  13. vapourise

    vapourise Newbie

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    What a great wealth of info there is hear.
    You totally answered the debate that I was having.
    Yeah, I totally thought that it was from Afghanistan etc...
     
  14. papasmurf6457

    papasmurf6457 Newbie

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    alot r bought in afganistan and middle eastern countries wether it contrary to what the government wants you to believe or not our troops protect the poppy fields in the middle east the same as they protect the oil
     
  15. babalooj

    babalooj Silver Member

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    I'm surprised to hear about poppy production in European countries and Japan, i understand they don't supply much of it and i realize they can be grown in temperate climates, but i always thought it would be much less than optimal for the commercial (legal or otherwise) production of drugs
     
  16. TheBigBadWolf

    TheBigBadWolf Apprentice Sorcerer Palladium Member Donating Member

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    Same as Hemp poppy also has regional strains that would not even begin to grow, brought to a different growing area with different climate.

    Austrian poppy seed would have problems in Afghanistan and Indian seed might not want to grow in Tasmania.
    Whereas Tasmanian should do well in Central Europe and Northern America.

    The product of Austrian poppy fields is seeds - and from there oil and raw seeds. The Poppy Straw goes into floristical products ( 10%) and as straw to the pharm industry.

    Got that from Some Austrian website I can't remeber the name off and didnt come up when I did search, sorry.

    Practiacally every next garden in little towns has Opium poppies as an ornamental plant. (But at nighttime there's the farmer's dog ;))

    Until the 1850s opium (that means poppyseed) was wrapped in a cloth together with some honey to pacify the sucklings on the field's boundary ridges while mummies were working in the field.
    Good old European tradition.

    BBW
     
  17. Twenty-One

    Twenty-One Silver Member

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    Afghanistan is not a large supplier anymore since the Taliban came into power. They are obviously very against psychoactive drugs, and outlawed and destroyed most poppy fields in the country.
     
  18. perro-salchicha614

    perro-salchicha614 Rainbow Sprinkle Titanium Member Supporter

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    Sorry 21, hate to be a stickler for facts, but opium cultivation is still quite extensive in Afghanistan, regardless of religious restrictions imposed by Islam.

    Here's a paper on Afghanistan's "opium problem" that I think you'll enjoy reading:
    http://cria-online.org/3_6.html

    But like I said, virtually all of the opium grown there ends up as heroin. It is not used to make pharmaceutical opiates.

    Or chandu, sadly. But I suppose one can dream... haha
     
  19. benzochap

    benzochap Newbie

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    Well I know the UK grows a fair amount now as its currently outside my window...
    Some is purchased from Afghanistan though and Mexico two biggest growers at least.. Tasmania also supplies a large amount.
    There're documentaries but i havent seen a specific one most deal with the growing of the poppy and only briefly touch on any legal use of it most focus on the US/Afghans/Mexicans destroying their crops and the general illicit trade.