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1909 Shanghai Conference

  • By: William C. Plouffe Jr
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

The 1909 Shanghai Conference was the first international conference to address the issue of drugs. Although the resolutions adopted at the conference were nonbinding, it resulted in the Hague Opium Conferences (1912–14) and the adoption of the 1912 International Opium Convention, which, combined with later treaties, restricted opium production and international trade.

The conference, held in Shanghai, China, was known as the International Opium Commission. A number of developments had led to the conference. By the start of the 19th century, opium had been known in China for at least 1,000 years. Throughout the 19th century, the major foreign source of opium in China was India, through the British East India Company.

The Chinese government had taken a number of steps to reduce the illicit use and ...

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