Tassie’s Best Kept Secret? They’re An Enormous Opiate Den

Tasmania’s a hard-done by place from time to time. Lack of resources means a relative lack of revenue. And when you can’t get paid, you get desperate. And that desperation leads to some dark places. Maybe some people pick up a weapon and try to roll a bunch of servos. Maybe other people hit the markets and try to flog a bunch of pirated movies. But the more industrious people, the smarter people, take what they’ve got already – their knowledge, their resources, their cunning – and they grow and distribute drugs of such immeasurable quality that the whole world sits up and takes notice. And those on the outside think that Tasmania is trying to justify this whole thing and admit they’re in danger? Who is it you think you see? Do you know how much Tasmania makes a year from this? Even if I told you, you wouldn’t believe it. Do you know what would happen if Tasmania suddenly decided to stop growing opiates? A business big enough to that it could be listed on the NASDAQ goes belly up. Disappears! It ceases to exist without Tasmania. No, you clearly don’t know who you’re talking to, so let me clue you in. Tasmania is not in danger, Pedestrian readers. Tasmania is the danger. A guy opens the door and gets shot and you think that of them? No. Tassie is the one who knocks.
In all seriousness, one of the things you might not know about Tasmania is that it is the world leader when it comes to the production of legal opiates. The quietly growing empire has expanded to the point where the industry now earns about $290 million per year, and now Victoria and the Northern Territory are keen to get in on the act. With an aging population and a society with an increasing appetite for painkillers such as Nurofen Plus and Panadeine, Tassie’s grip on the market has grown to the point where they now supply around half of the entire globe’s supply of opium poppies, from which morphine and codeine are extracted. Though this is not to be confused with the illegal poppy industry that produces heroin, which Afghanistan leads by some margin.
The Tasmanian fields are all tightly regulated and fortified; all surrounded by highly electric fences with heightened security, and are only operated by three licensed companies. The size of these fields is enormous, now covering an area roughly the equivalent of 15,000 times the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, which is a hell of a lot of cough syrup.
So with the Tasmanian grip on the market only strengthening over the past few years, we can only imagine, with Victoria and the Northern Territory trying to nose in on the territory that maybe their best course… would be to tread lightly.
Photo: AFP via Getty Images.