Sunday, August 29, 2010

Doda: How British Columbia Became a Drug Hub

A record 60,000 poppy plants were found growing near Chilliwack, British Columbia. Not for heroin production, but for drug called "doda":
Not too long ago, doda could be bought in stores across the Fraser Valley alongside South Asian goods, said Harry Bains, NDP MLA for Surrey-Newton. “You could walk into a dozen of local stores and they would sell it to you. Some even kept it right on the counter,” he said.
The drug has been called poor man’s opium, referring to its popular use among taxi and truck drivers in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India for boosting alertness.
Although the drug is illegal here and in India, Mr. Bains said it has become a problem only recently in Canada and police didn’t know about it two years ago. “We brought it to their attention, and to their credit they took it seriously. They didn’t know it was commercially produced and sold here,” said Mr. Bains, who was asked by community leaders to help stop the spread of doda in B.C.
“We don’t want to add another drug onto the drugs that our community is facing and causing havoc on our streets. … That is a serous concern if it starts growing here,” Mr. Bains said.
This isn't surprising considering British Columbia has become a North American drug hub in recent years.
Asian, Indo-Canadian and outlaw motorcycle gangs are not only putting pot, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and crystal meth into the hands of B.C. citizens, but they're also using globalization to reap profits planetwide, an RCMP intelligence report reveals.
"The involvement of organized crime has significantly expanded the Canadian illicit drug trade, posing a major threat both domestically and internationally," said the just-released Drug Situation Report 2006.
"Criminal organizations that previously specialized in one drug . . . have now branched out into multi-commodity trafficking, importation and exportation. These organizations are powerful, well-connected and are dealing in high-profit-yielding illicit ventures across the globe."
In essence, globalization and immigration are bringing drugs you've never heard of to Canada. And as a result, doda is taking its toll on the B.C. South Asian communities.
Dr. Gulzar Cheema said doda has been popular in the South Asian community for years and is currently sold under the counter in many pawnshops, video stores and other retail outlets.
Doda is a powder made by grinding the seed pods of opium poppies and is usually used to make a type of tea.
Police have ignored the problem for so long, it's now as common as marijuana in some circles, said Cheema.
Doda addiction is now the second biggest substance-abuse problem in the South Asian community, Surrey addictions counsellor Rajpal Singh said.
"It's spread a lot and it's spreading more," Singh said. "It is a big problem."
Doda users are often construction workers or truckers who use the drug to help them stay awake through long work shifts. Opiates often trigger bursts of energy before eventually causing pronounced tiredness in users.
So doda is basically the opium-equivalent of crystal meth. Can't find anything online right now to indicate if this has spread/become a trend in US cities with Afghan/Pakistani/Indian populations. However, it might only be a matter of time before doda catches on among other drug users across the continent.


And as it turns out, Doda also happens to be the name of a female Polish pop singer on trial for insulting religious feeling by claiming drunks and stoners wrote the Bible. Poland happens to be extremely Catholic.


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