High school teacher blames local heroin overdose on war in Afghanistan
Another local kid overdosed. I say kid, even though he was in his 30s, but I still think of him as he was in high school. I don’t know where he got his drugs, where they originated; does it matter? It is said that Afghanistan produces 90% of the world’s opium. I don’t know where that figure comes from, or if it’s accurate, but it’s safe to say the Afghans contribute a lot of opium to the world’s market*.
It’s not surprising to me that there has also been nonstop warfare there for a long, long time. We’ve had troops there for nearly two decades, fighting Islamic extremists, preceded by the Soviets, before them various warlords, back to the British over a century ago. Back then, the British were heavily involved in the opium trade; they even fought the Opium Wars in/with China to control the very profitable addiction trade in China.
I wonder if the Opium Wars are part of Worcester Public School’s social studies curriculum, or even better, their health curriculum. As a teacher, I sat through many health lessons designed to educate students on the dangers of drugs. I don’t know how to measure their results, but a skeptic might question their effectiveness. Perhaps the experts in Boston can devise an MCAS test for drug lessons.
I would hope the Opium Wars would be taught alongside lessons that approach the opioid culture that is open to our kids; it’s always smart to teach kids real, interesting history. Today, the Communist Chinese produce deadly black-market fentynal that is responsible for so many overdose deaths but their feudal predecessors pushed British opium.
The Taliban, al-Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups in Afghanistan fund their enterprises via the opium trade. Were the Russians involved in the closing days of the Soviet Union? Maybe yes, maybe no. I’ve read that our CIA was funding Osama Bin Laden’s war against the Russians with opium before the 9/11 attacks, but who knows. If you’re looking to fund black-ops off the books, it would make sense.
I wonder a lot about our nation’s relationship to the poppy and its farmers after being in-country for so long that some of our deployed soldiers were in diapers when our involvement in the war there began. Our forces there can’t be operating in a vacuum. Now President Trump says our troops should come home after nearly twenty years of lost lives and limbs. He’s been criticized for this by many of the same politicians who endorsed the same policy when President Obama made it part of his campaign.
President Obama, for whatever reason, never acted on his promises once he was elected. The hypocrisy of politicians knows no bounds. Democrat Obama says withdraw and his supporters applaud; evil Republican Trump proposes withdrawal and the same people holler betrayal. Perhaps those folks, or somebody, can figure out why we’re still in Afghanistan, declare victory, and be willing to share credit with President Trump. Then maybe Congress can get some of the people’s business done, among the pressing concerns of the opiod crisis. I for one don’t need to hear about another overdose.
Ken Kozberg lives in Oakham.
*According to NATO in 2013: “In Afghanistan decades of conflict have done little to stem the opium trade and today, the country still supplies around 90% of the world’s opium.”
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