06/22/18 The Washington Post
Opium poppy growers in southern Mexico who helped fuel the U.S. heroin epidemic say prices for their product have been driven so low — apparently by the use of synthetic opioids like fentanyl — that they are turning in desperation back to another crop they know well: marijuana.
Beset by poverty and joblessness, farmers in the hills around the Guerrero state hamlets of Tenantla and Amatitlan say that prices for opium paste — which oozes from the bulbs of poppies after they’re cut — have fallen so low they don’t even pay for the cost of planting, fertilizing, irrigating, weeding and harvesting the raw material for heroin.
One local farmer points to a former opium poppy field tucked into the fold of steep hillside. The dried stalks of the poppy plants from last year’s harvest can be seen sticking out among the 2- and 3-foot-tall stands of marijuana planted this year.