International support for Poppy for Medicine in Afghanistan

About the Poppy for Medicine project proposal

With the support of the Network of European Foundations [1], the development of the Poppy for Medicine project proposal has been coordinated by The Senlis Council, in conjunction with experts and academics from around the world. A full copy of the proposal, together with a detailed FAQ on the initiative, are available on this website.

European Parliament backs Senlis Poppy for Medicine initiative

On 25 October 2007, the European Parliament adopted a Report with a Recommendation to the European Council to look “at pilot projects for small-scale conversion of parts of the current illicit poppy cultivation into fields for the production of legal opium-based analgesic”. The Report was adopted by an overwhelming majority, and received cross-party support from all political groups within the Parliament. Of the 442 Members of European Parliament who voted, 368 MEPs voted in favour, 49 against and 25 abstained. As such, the Report was largely backed by all political groups in the Parliament including the Conservative group.

Widespread international support for the Poppy for Medicine proposal

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Political bodies from across Europe and North America have expressed support and enthusiasm for the implementation of Poppy for Medicine projects in Afghanistan. These projects have been endorsed by political decision-makers as a pragmatic way of simultaneously addressing Afghanistan’s opium crisis and the extensive global unmet needs for affordable morphine medicines.

Political support for the proposal has been forthcoming from:

Further support from the medical community for the Poppy for Medicine initiative

The Poppy for Medicine proposal has also been very positively received in the medical and health communities, with support from Nobel Prize winner John Polanyi; the British Medical Association; the Lancet; and ex-member of the WHO Working Group on guidelines for the national opioids policies and former Indian Narcotics Commissioner Romesh Bhattacharji [3]. In addition, the Poppy for Medicine proposal has been officially endorsed by the Italian Red Cross, one of the leaders on drug policy within the Red Cross movement.

Significant public support for the Poppy for Medicine proposal

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In August 2007 The Senlis Council commissioned surveys on the Poppy for Medicine project in Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States. On average, 80% of those surveyed supported the idea of Poppy for Medicine projects in Afghanistan; and 74% stated they would be willing to use Afghan-made morphine if it were to meet international pharmaceutical standards. Nearly 70% believed that their political leaders should support the implementation of Poppy for Medicine projects.

  1. The Network of European Foundations is an innovative philanthropic organisation comprising twelve Europe-based foundations, which serves as a platform for the launching of cooperative projects between foundations at the European level.
    These twelve foundations are: the European Cultural Foundation, Amsterdam; Fondation de France, Paris; Charities Aid Foundation, London; King Baudouin Foundation, Brussels; Compagnia di San Paolo, Turin; Stiftelsen Riksbankens Jubileumsfound, Stockholm; Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, London; Fondation Gabriel, Paris; Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon; Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, London; Van Leer Group Foundation, Amsterdam; and the Robert Bosch Stiftung, Stuttgart.

  2. In a major speech in February 2007, the Liberal Party Leader Stéphane Dion officially adopted the Poppy for Medicine initiative as one of his Party’s three key policies for Afghanistan

  3. In June 2007 Romesh Bhattacharji released a policy brief entitled India’s experiences in licensing poppy cultivation for the production of essential medicines: Lessons for Afghanistan, calling for the implementation of Poppy for Medicine projects in Afghanistan