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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:39 pm 
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I don't know how many people are aware, but our Suboxone comes from opium poppies just like heroin, morphine and oxycodone. The difference is that rather than morphine being the main extracted drug from these poppies, it's actually Thebaine which is extracted to produce buprenorphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone etc.

Most of the poppies to produce all these drugs for the world is grown in my country, in an island way to the south called Tasmania. It's a really beautiful part of the world. Originally they chose Tasmania to grow these (originally morphine producing) poppies because of the climate, but also because Tasmanians, being separated from the world (and generally inbred but that's another topic), didn't have the same number of narcotic addicts as other parts of Australia. So raiding the fields would be less of an issue.

This however has changed in recent years. The number of outsider people (aka junkies) plundering the opium fields in Tasmania has increased exponentially in recent years. This is DESPITE most of the fields growing a specially bred (and potentially genetically modified) crop of opium that contains much more thebaine than poppies grown in other parts of the world.

Thebaine is not a "fun" drug, not in the same way as morphine. So people who plunder the fields in Tasmania can find themselves experiencing intense anxiety, temperature issues, even seizures and convulsions. Despite this, people still do it.

The poppy growers have reacted to this by increasing security patrols, surveillance etc, and also creating an awareness campaign. You can see parts of this campaign here:

The growers also grow standard morphine bearing opium poppies similar to what you find in South-East Asia and South America, but they keep their location secret among the Thebaine poppies to keep the plunderers in the dark. Obviously if their location was discovered, the addicts would go straight to those fields to avoid the thebaine!

Just thought you might find this interesting, given we take this drug every day. Good to know where it comes from.

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Fond Du Lac Psychiatry
Dr. Jeffrey Junig, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Board Certified Psychiatrist
  • Asst Clinical Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin

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