Quieting kids with opium should be a mistake of the past

Special to The Bluffton PacketJune 18, 2012 

When Will and Dorothy's 5-month-old baby Campbell was teeny-tiny, she suffered from colic. If you have been through this same situation, you know what a strain the crying of a baby day and night can present.

When my children were little, I and everyone I knew kept a bottle of paregoric in the medicine chest. Paregoric was a wonderful liquid that after a few drops gave instant relief from gas pains caused by milk. It also was used to rub on babies' gums when they were teething.

I never realized it, but one of paregoric's ingredients is powdered opium. Until the government stepped in, one could go to the drugstore and buy this magical potion over the counter. It no longer is available in the U.S. because of regulations about the use of unapproved drugs.

I mention this because I was reading an article the other day about Afghan women and children and their use of opium. In dozens of small villages it is considered the norm for mothers to administer opium to their children. Women and children make up 40 percent of the 30,000 drug addicts who live in the area.

The women are carpet weavers, and the children are given the opium to keep them quiet so as not to disturb the women's work. The women think there is nothing wrong with this. There are 1 million drug users in Afghanistan, 8 percent of the population -- a very high number for such a small place. There are no clinics for addicts in parts of the country that could sorely use them.

I read that Afghanistan has had a 53 percent rise in the number of opium users and that it produces 90 percent of the world's opium. I find this rather disturbing.

If we are prevented by the U.S. from buying a tiny bottle of paregoric, it seems there must be a way to stop a terrible drug from being used in such a manner.

Poppy cultivation should be outlawed in Afghanistan.

  • Hearst Corporation is holding its third Hearst 8x10 Photography Biennial, an international competition searching for the talent that represents the best in many sorts of media.

  • Winners will have their work published and will be included in the show in January 2013. The deadline is Aug. 1. Details: www.hearst8x10.com

  • Hampton Lake Women's Art Group is inviting the public to the opening reception for an exhibition of their works and to meet the artists. The beautiful artwork will be on display at the Hilton Head Island library through July 21. The reception will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday in the Art Corridor at the library. Light refreshments will be served.

  • The Inn at Palmetto Bluff has been named one of the best destinations for a spa treatment by Traveler Magazine in its June 2012 issue. The spa often wins awards for its treatments.
  • Babbie Guscio is the social columnist for The Bluffton Packet. She can be reached at The Store on Calhoun Street.

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