How are legal and illegal opium markets affected by global relations?

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How are legal and illegal opium markets affected by global relations?

In western society opium has two main uses.  These are medicinal and in the criminal justice system of the illegal drug trade.  The harms and abuses cut across all ages and socioeconomic groups. Opium and its derivatives called opiods are produced from the poppy plant. These been used to control pain in the medicinal world and used for other purposes in an illegal use.  These two uses has led to opium becoming a valuable commodity in global markets and this essay will look at how this market can be used to interpret what constitutes crime and justice.  Local and global markets within the opium trade has resulted in violence amongst individuals and state sponsored markets in the form of war and both personal and social harms. (The Open University, 2009(a)). To try and understand this you have to distinguish the connection if any between illegal and legal drug use.

Individuals, communities and ethnic groups in history and to date have been the focus for examination and treatment by justice systems whereas compared to large corporations and governments have been able to remain unaccountable for their actions.

In the 1700’s Britain was importing opium into China from its colonies in India.  The numbers of opium users and addiction was increasing rapidly and had become so vast that the Chinese emperor banned its import but despite the prohibition and Britain finding it unfair and against free trade principles, continued to supply. This continuation resulted in the opium wars forcing China to allow the importation of opium. . (The Open University, 2009(b)).  Many decades on the British government, with Tony Blair as prime minister, used the Chinese emperor’s previous views to validate the military action in Afghanistan and to destroy of Afghanistan opium crops.  The British government was responsible for harming another nation but was not seen as the action being illegal and was justified as being in the nation’s best interest and not as a criminal action. (The Open University, 2009(b)).  Throughout our history the link between drugs and war is apparent and this link was used in the early 1970s by the government of America to bring about a campaign against groups that posed a threat to the administration. In 1971 President Richard Nixon declared a nationwide “war on drugs” within the USA. (Cole, The Open University,

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2009(c)).  One consequence of this ‘war on drugs’ was the creation of an environment that caused deeper and more violent criminal behaviours regarding the use and supply of illegal

drugs. (Simon, The Open University, 2009, (c)). Another consequence of this war was that crimes involving drugs were now associated largely with anti-social, urban and low income groups compared to the more affluent and more influential classes which created different tier structures of the treatment of these different classes regarding drug use. (Open University, 2009 (c)). With the opium trade being one of the largest global businesses, attracting criminal activity and ...

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