Scientists have identified the key gene that allows poppies to produce morphine. The gene called STORR was found by a team from the University of York and the GlaxoSmithKline Australia pharmaceutical company.
Morphine is a key ingredient in many prescription drugs. It is a opiate that can be used for relieving chronic and acute pains. Morphine acts on the central nervous system and can be administered orally , intravenously or intramuscularly injected.
Without the STORR gene poppies are unable to produce morphine and this discovery might help scientists grow GM poppy fields that produce more larger quantities of opiate. Special legal fields are used for the production of morphine intended for pharmaceutical use.
Two other scientists published a paper about a month ago, explaining almost the entire process required to covert glucose into morphine using engineered yeast.This prompted many people to fear homemade heroin could appear on the market spreading a drug epidemic.
The discovery of the STORR gene could get illegal drug pushers one step closer to manufacturing home-made heroin. Large amounts could be made with reduce costs, and without the producer being forced to use imported poppy opiates.
A few people might even want to request access to information from both studies on morphine production be limited. Even more people are requesting that state officials and agencies keep an eye on the scientific developments made regarding morphine production.
Jeff Comparin, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s laboratory in Dulles, Virginia’s Director said that the certain agencies like the DEA were monitoring the situation.
He also stated that until a widely available yeast strain capable of producing morphine is not present on the market, there are no imminent threats.
However the illegal drug market is already filled by other homemade drugs, like GHB also known as liquid ecstasy, which is made from off the shelf legal products like pesticide and paint-stripper.
Home cooked Methamphetamine is also widely present on the drug market, and techniques on how to produce it can even be found in many sub-corners of the internet.
Almost every region on the planet has locally invented devastating street homemade drugs. They range from alcohol mixtures like Purple Drank, known for causing the deaths of several Rappers in the 90’s, to local herb mixes with added chemical substances like Herbal Ecstasy.
Removing access to information or criticizing scientific development will not help in any way curb the availability of homemade deadly drugs.
Many countries have also discarded the use of measures like hard prison sentences for drug dealing and possession since they have been proven not to be effective in combating drug use.
Without measures that drastically reduce demand law enforcement forces fear there will always be people willing to take the place of imprisoned drug dealers.
The possibility of making vast amounts of money fast and the lack of education and job opportunities entice people into coming up with new ideas for producing cheap drugs and selling them.
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