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Scientist Dr Jawahar Ram Sharma
A cheap and permanent means of controlling global opium abuse
 real 28k

Tuesday, 21 December, 1999, 11:19 GMT
Addictive-free poppy seed developed

Result of five years of research by Indian scientists Result of five years of research by Indian scientists


By Ram Dutt Tripathi in Lucknow.

Scientists in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh say they have developed a new variety of opium-free poppy seed.

The new breed contains the nutritional properties of the original seed without any of the addictive properties associated with opium.

The opium-free poppy seed is the result of five years of research by scientists at the government-run Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants based in Lucknow.

The head of the Institute's Genetics and Plant Breeding department, Jawahar Ram Sharma, said his team had genetically converted the poppy seed, which has naturally occurring narcotic properties, into a new, non-narcotic variety.

Dr Sharma said the new seed has no trace of any of the natural chemicals which cause a narcotic effect - namely, morphine, codeine and narcotine.

The new seed is also reported to be a rich source of protein. However, Dr Sharma said the breakthrough will not replace the indispensable medicinal value of the original poppy seed.

Opium contained in the traditional breed of poppy has been used by people all over the world for hundreds of years as an effective analgesic.

Dr Sharma said his team was now looking to breed another variety of the poppy seed which will contain its traditional pain relieving properties without being addictive.

Opium is cultivated from the poppy seed illicitly all over the world and converted into heroin.

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See also:
11 Nov 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Central Asia's battle with drugs
10 Sep 99 |  South Asia
Afghan opium crop 'largest recorded'
09 May 98 |  From Our Own Correspondent
Afghanistan's opium harvest
28 Mar 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Burma fights opium trade
14 May 98 |  Despatches
Asia's mounting drug problem

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