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Last Updated: Monday, 25 July 2005, 16:51 GMT 17:51 UK
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Comments on "Britain's heroin fix", first broadcast on Sunday 23 July 2005 at 22:15 BST.

The views expressed on these pages are not necessarily the views of the BBC. The e-mails published will be reflective of the balance of opinion received.


Perhaps Mr Blair would like to visit our small ex-mining town. Preferably before 2013 as he will, in all likeliehood, find the population greatly decreased if we have to wait this long for a complete ban. I do not expect that my daughter or son-in-law will be around at this time either, and I will have my two grandsons to look after. That is if youngest one is born in September of this year and survives.

We have two kinds of terrorism in this country and heroin is just as much a killer as the evil people who bomb the innocent.It is always the innocent who are hurt.
Colleen McManus, Hucknall, Nottingham

This programme illustrates the insanity of the "War on Drugs". Why not buy the opium off the farmers, import it to GP's in the UK and prescribe it to addicts? The only people who will lose is the big time drug traffickers. Unfortunately, these people would probably try and kill any politician who tried to legalise and control the trade in opium.
Jeff Haycock, Bewdley

I thought it was quite clear in the progrmme tonight that Britain has to do more to encourage Afghan farmers to grow more beneficial crops than opium poppies to supply heroin. These crops bring in vast amounts of money compared to other crops to these poor farmers which is why they persist in growing opium poppies in the first place. If they are to grow other crops, they have to be able to sell these to other countries at a reasonable price. Climate is also a major problem in Afghanistan which also has to be taken into consideration.

We would benefit here in Britain if this trade was stopped as we all know the large cost of heroin addiction and the crimes that stem from this to our counntry. This is going to take a number of years to do and I do not think that the timescale set by the Government is going to be met. We are going to have to be there for many years and I hope that we will see an end of these poppies, replaced by a crop that will be far more profitable to both the farmers and the country.
Steve Fuller, Hove, East Sussex, England

I am a recovering heroin addict, I have been clean since last year and must admit the treatment in this country for addicts is at best poor. We live on an island and we can't and won't stop the people who make vast amounts of money from the heroin trade. Same old tactics punish the poor, it's the easy option all the time. Time we made a stand against the bribed and the briber. Punishing the poor wont work.
John Deane, Warrington, England

As long as there is demand, there will be supply. If supply is reduced in one place, that will make it even more profitable everywhere else. If the opposite approach were taken and the market (coordinated with already-ongoing field irigation projects) was flooded, then there wouldn't be the profits to give the farmers a livelihood from poppies and would guarantee a turn back to food production more quickly. It makes more sense to put all the funds allocated for poppy eradication towards water projects. The aid promised to Afganistan after the US invasion to build up the country's infrastructure must be delivered. This program should have been asking why the promised aid has still not been given after all this time.
L Banks, London, UK

Interesting programme, however I was surprised at the measures adopted to try and resolve the problem. The derivatives from poppies are used in medicines for pain relief. Would it not be more prudent to use the crops produced in Afghanistan for legal production and at the same time enable these poor impoverished farmers the opportunity to live a better life?

The destruction of their livelyhoods is more likely to alienate the West even more as we will be perceived as increasing their misery to alleviate our own.
Phill McClure, Preston

Another superb insight into the tragic plight of the poppy farmers who barely make ends meet producing the source of so many wasted lives far from the dusty Afghan plains. The most cogent comment came from the village elder who could not understand the need of so many people in the West for heroin. He reminded us that the problem lies in our lifestyle here in Europe and the US, yet it is the dirt poor in Third World countries who must suffer because too many of us cannot live without this addictive and ultimately ruinous narcotic.
Bill Jackson, Nottingham, UK

The hypocrisy is unbelievable. What gives us or the USA the right to go and destroy other nations (or our own) crops just because the way in which we choose to use it. It would mean that we could destroy all the hop and vine fields because it leads to lots of drunken and anti-social behaviour in our towns and cities. Do we really think we should let another country choose the crops we sow? Wake up before its too late.
Peter Tarling, North Cheam, Surrey, England

Firstly, congratulations on a very informative programme. I have two comments primarily. Firstly, it is obvious that the problem with opium is worldwide, therefore it is the responsability of all countries to support the Afghani President and those regional leaders who 'risk' supporting him. We cannot let the farmers down. Secondly, based on the figures broadcast in the programme, I have calculated that 4400 Metric Tonnes (estimated annual crop for 2005) x 50 per kilo (price farmers are paid for crop of opium) would cost 210 million. Surely it would make sense for our Government to buy this as it is far less than the estimated 15 billion heroin addiction is said to cost our Government? In addition to this, it would mean 'we' can control the 'stock' and not the druglords, resulting in erradicating the "95% of heroin consumed in the UK comes from Afghanistan."
Neil Marklew, Cannock, UK





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