For my Global Issue Novel Study, I chose the novel, Lunch with Lenin by Deborah Ellis. The novel is divided into ten short stories. The one I choose to focus on primarily for this task, was “Pretty Flowers.” The story was set in Afghanistan and it focused majorly on the cultivation of opium, which is then used to make heroin. In Afghanistan the consumption as well as the production of opium is going up. More and more afghans are becoming addicts and the numbers have tripled throughout the years. In a country with a population of thirty-five million, there are now more than 1 million addicts for the drug heroin. Heroin is one of the most deadly drugs you could possibly consume, yet why do so many people rely on it?To buy heroin in Kabul is ‘as easy as buying yourself something to eat’. Addicts say heroin in the country is so cheap that it is hard to resist. One gram costs about $6 (£3.91), and it is available in every corner of the city.
In 2004, the opium-poppy economy equalled more than half of Afghanistan’s legal GDP. GDP stands for Gross Domestic Product. Gross Domestic Product is the primary indicator used to determine how well a country’s economy is doing. It represents the total dollar value of all goods and services produced over a specific time period. Afghanistan went from a traditional economy to a planned economy up until 2002 when it was replaced by a free market economy. This means that the citizens of Afghanistan determine their needs and wants when it comes to consumer choices. The consumption of drugs is leading to many controversial issues in our society today that in the long run impact us all. Consumerism plays a huge role in drug abuse.
The over consumption of drugs is a growing issue that must be put an end to. Consumerism linked to drugs revolves around how people view their quality of life. Some people choose to resort to the path of drugs due to their poor quality of life. Scarcity is another idea that directly relates to this issue. Heroin, for example is made from a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seedpod of the opium poppy plant. Over 90% of the world’s heroin production comes from Afghanistan. Due to the ban, during the Taliban rule, there was no land to grow and harvest the opium, which resulted in a major decrease in the heroin production all over the world. Ever since the uplift of the ban in 2002, the production and exporting of heroin has gone over the roof. Afghanistan is back at number one for being the world’s largest opium harvester. Although, the export of opium has proved to be good for the economy, does this make it ethically correct?
The income source made off of the harvesting of opium for certain families is what they live off of. It defines the good life they will move forth to experience. Without the land and the resources to harvest opium, many families in Afghanistan would go down in debt. This would cause a drastic change in Afghanistan’s economy. Overall, I think that drug abuse is a very controversial issue when it comes to consumerism.