Thursday, 22 January 2009 5:54 AM

Vanuatu Faces New Drug Threat: Opium

Vanuatu, already engaged in a battle against the trade of cannabis, now has to face the production and trade and of another drug, opium.

According to Vanuatu's Daily Post, the 'Squad against drug has reported that the plant used to make opium, is growing in Vanuatu and that the drug peddling is already set'.

Opium is a narcotic made from the sap of immature seed pods of opium poppies, and is converted into heroin for illegal use. Heroin is one of the world's most dangerous drugs.

According to the report, the squad is about to start an inquiry to identify the drug smugglers, further stating that while 'the police, even with the help of the Australian Federal police are not able to stop drug smuggling of the cannabis, they have to face this new drug'.

The report quotes Sergeant Leo Hurian from the squad against drugs saying, "We received some information about the opium. Our informants are good and we are waiting for some more information to start our inquiry and find from where the opium is coming," adding, "Those informants are looking for the smugglers and soon we'll have the answer we are waiting for."

According to the report, in Europe, 'the poppy sprout in autumn and the young plant wait for spring before the new flowering'. However, in the tropics, like in Vanuatu, 'the plant can have two flowerings per year, which is worrying because the opium can be spread out in the country and put in danger the lives of Ni-Vans'.