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If there is one 'drug' which encapsulates the 'East' for many Westerners it is opium. Mention the word opium and many people begin to conjure an almost romantic world of smoky dives, in which glassy-eyed, somnolent men are wrapped around an elegant pipe.

The truth, of course, is somewhat different and the opium trade in Thailand (Siam) mirrored the best and worst of this intriguingly fascinating addiction.

Opium in Thailand traces the history of the trade from its beginnings in the late 17th century and its imposition by the British as a trading item on Siam through to the rise of the famed Golden Triangle and the attempts at suppression from the 1960s onwards.

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