Join Date: Aug 2004
Anybody ever hear of the drug Dode?
Saw something on the local news here in Canada about a drug derived from the opium poppy anybody ever hear of it before? They've got butchers selling it over the counter in Toronto:
POPPY POWDER A CHEAP 'HIGH'
Fears Arise Over Possible Harm From 'Dode,' Which Is Sold Openly In Brampton, Mississauga Meat Shops
Poppy powder, a derivative of highly addictive and illegal opium, is openly sold in some meat shops in Brampton and Mississauga, raising questions about its legality and potentially harmful effects for those seeking an unconventional 'high.' Unlike opium, which oozes out as a milky substance from a lacerated poppy bud, poppy powder is made by grinding dried buds from the dried plants, sold in flower shops for decorative purposes. It's a simple process, and in recent years the powder has been increasingly popular in the burgeoning community of Indian origin west of Toronto.
Usually gulped quickly with water and then followed by tea, the poppy powder is sometimes used by truck drivers and factory workers because it increases their ability to stay awake working long hours on the job. But community leaders are worried some supplies contain potent amounts of morphine and codeine, both derivatives of opium, or are being mixed with other drugs, creating a potentially larger drug problem, particularly for youths.
"Who knows what these people are adding in the poppy husk? No one can stop them from adding any other drug," said Surjit Singh Jhabelwali, a community activist in Brampton. Jhabelwali said he became well aware of the addictive problems of poppy powder while working as a lawyer in India.
Several local doctors said they are witnessing a troubling number of mostly male patients coming in with serious addictive symptoms after lengthy use of the powder, known in India as "dode." Symptoms include mood swings, constipation, impotence, body aches and, if taken in large quantities, breathing problems that can be fatal.
"The symptoms are the same as opium and, if you took what these guys are taking, you will probably die," Dr. Steven Black, of Malton Medical Group, said of those of mostly Indian origin who seek treatment. Black, who works in the drug rehabilitation clinic, sees new patients trickle in almost every day. "It's very difficult to get off ( dode )."
Part of the problem is how easy and cheap the powder is to buy, even though it is illegal to produce, possess or sell opium and its derivatives, except poppy seeds, without a licence from Health Canada under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
At a local meat shop in Mississauga, there was no need to wink or whisper to the man behind the counter. Just one word, dode, and his hands disappeared under the counter and came up with a plastic bag of almond-coloured powder - $10 for 10 grams, $20 for 20 grams.
Asked if it was any good, he replied: "I have been selling it for 16 years now, no worries." He later said he was under the impression it was legal to sell.
Down the road at another meat shop the owner, a barrel-chested man with gold chains around his neck, promised he could take customers to highs his competition can only dream of.
"This is the genuine thing," he said, handing over a powder-filled bag. "We used to get it from Afghanistan and Europe, earlier, but now it comes from Arizona."The Star sent a sample of the powder purchased to a commercial lab, which reported a "strong positive" for codeine and morphine, enough drug to "get a person high." An equal amount of crushed poppy seeds yielded a like dose of morphine, but less codeine.
Morphine found in a poppy pod depends on harvest time and the type of seed, said Dr. Bick Dhaliwal, a Brampton medical researcher. An overdose can be fatal.
Dr. Kuldip Kular, the MPP for Brampton-Gore-Malton-Springdale and a physician, said community members have asked him several times to push for a ban on dode.
Rajinder Saini, editor-in-chief of Parwasi Newspapers in Malton, said he has discussed dode on his radio show several times, with callers confessing to using dode because it makes them feel good and lets them work long hours.
Philippe Laroche, a Health Canada spokesperson, said that unless authorized, possession of opium or any of its derivatives - including crushed poppy buds - has been prohibited for years. He said the agency had no data on the health effects of eating powdered poppy.
Media relations Const. Wayne Paterson said Peel police did consult Health Canada on the powder in an earlier probe but was told too little opium was present to lay charges. But, "If we find out these people are taking the poppy plant and adding a chemical substance to it, then we will investigate. Crushed poppies alone is not opium."
"This is absolutely illegal," countered Dr. Peter Facchini, the Canada research chair in plant biotechnology at the University of Calgary. "All the police have to do now is to send the sample to a lab and they will find enough morphine and codeine to make an arrest."
Facchini has studied opium poppy for more than 16 years. He said most Canadians who grow opium poppies, which differ from oriental poppies, don't know they are illegal.