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A Brief History of Opium in India

An MP in India, Dharamvira Gandhi, has put forward a bill to legalise cannabis and opium. While movements to decriminalise or regulate cannabis are gaining momentum around the world, politicians’ support for the regulation of opium – the drug from which morphine and heroin are derived – is comparatively very rare.

Although Gandhi’s proposal seems radical, it seems less surprising when viewed within the history of opium in India. Click through the timeline below to find out more.


All images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.https://commons.wikimedia.org/


UNODC – The Cultivation of the Opium Poppy in India

Opium and the British Indian Empire: The Royal Commission of 1895

Drug Law Reform in East and Southeast Asia

Illegal Opium Production in the Mishmi Hills of Arunachal Pradesh, India

Government of India – Central Bureau of Narcotics – Opium through History

The Abolition by Gornwallis of the Forced Cultivation of Opium in Bihar

Illegal Drug Trade: The War on Drugs

The Genesis of International Narcotic Control

UNODC – The abolition of opium smoking in India

The International Opium Convention, 1912

The Dangerous Drugs Act (1930)

Government of India – Overview – Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances

Why patients in pain cannot get “God's own medicine?”

Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961)

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (1985)

BBC News – Morphine: The cheap, effective pain-relief drug denied to millions

Hindustan Times – World AIDS Day

HIV epidemic in Punjab, India: time trends over a decade

INCB – Comments on Reported Statistics on Narcotic Drugs

Hindustan Times – Bill to legalise opium, marijuana cleared for tabling in Parliament

Indigenous Drugs of India


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