Drug firms urge opium-poppy expansion to meet painkiller demand

03/11/2014 | Quartz

Although the island of Tasmania produces more than half of the world's raw ingredients for opiate painkillers, major pharmaceutical firms are urging Australia to expand cultivation of opium poppies to the mainland. Demand for opiates has tripled from 1993 to 2012, according to the United Nations. The U.N. notes, however, that the current stockpile of 596 tons of opiate materials containing morphine is sufficient for the near term. Other major commercial opium poppy growers are Turkey, France, Spain, Hungary and India.

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