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Australia’s poppy farms produce more than half of the world’s legal narcotics

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The painkilling fields: Pictures show the hidden $40billion poppy farms producing codeine and morphine for the world

  • The whopping $40billion poppy industry is in full bloom across Australia 
  • The crops harvested produce more than half of the world’s legal narcotics 
  • Opium is the source of narcotics including morphine, heroin, thebaine, codeine

These are the hidden poppy farms producing opiates for more than half the world. 

The whopping $40billion poppy industry is in full bloom in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.

Owned by Palla Pharma, the only Australian-owned poppy processing company, the crops will soon be harvested to produce more than half of the world’s legal narcotics. 

The whopping $40billion poppy industry is in full bloom in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania

The whopping $40billion poppy industry is in full bloom in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania

Papaver somniferum is the plant species from which opium and poppy seeds come from

Papaver somniferum is the plant species from which opium and poppy seeds come from

Papaver somniferum is the plant species from which opium and poppy seeds come from.  

Opium is the source of several narcotics including morphine, heroin, thebaine, codeine, papaverine, and noscapine.

Richard Sargood, who already farms sheep and cattle, wanted to add something else to his crop. 

Signing up to grow his own poppy farm, tucked away in the Riverina district of NSW, Mr Sargood is excited to begin harvesting.

‘It’s quite exciting and, hopefully, if we can keep it flowering for another couple of weeks it’ll build the opioid content and there’ll be a reasonable yield at the other end of it,’ he told Nine News.  

Once the flower falls, the capsule is opened to reveal white poppy seeds that will soon turn black and be harvested

Once the flower falls, the capsule is opened to reveal white poppy seeds that will soon turn black and be harvested

Once the flower falls, the capsule is opened to reveal white poppy seeds that will soon turn black and be harvested.  

The capsules membrane reveals opium, which is the pain killer used to produce the powerful drugs.  

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Palla Pharma’s director of agriculture Michael Long told the publication that this is the third year they’ve had ‘excellent crops’.

‘We’ve got excellent climatic conditions that suit the poppy and we’ve seen for three seasons now we’ve had some excellent crops,’ he said. 

‘We believe there’s a significant growth opportunity, particularly for morphine and codeine.’  

How are drugs made? 

Drugs come from different sources:

• plants — for example, cannabis, mushrooms, or tobacco

• processed plant products — for example, alcohol, or heroin

• synthetic chemicals — for example, ecstasy or amphetamines

The processes used to make drugs varies widely, but drug products have 2 main types of ingredients:

  • active ingredients — the ingredients that biologically affect your body
  • inactive ingredients — these generally have no biological effect. They include binding agents, capsules, dyes, preservatives, flavourings and other ingredients

Legally manufactured drugs usually list all their ingredients, so you know what you are taking. 

Street drugs can contain almost anything as makers often add impurities to make them go further. You cannot be sure what you are taking.

                                                                                                 Source: Department of Health

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