International Opium Commission

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A plaque which commemorates International Opium Commission, outside of the Peace Hotel on the Bund.

The International Opium Commission was a meeting convened on February 1 to February 26, 1909 in Shanghai that represented one of the first steps toward international drug prohibition.


Hamilton Wright and Charles Henry Brent headed the U.S. delegation. Brent was elected president of the commission.[1]

The meeting was designated a 'commission' rather a conference, although this was the preference of the United States. Having the status of a conference would have given it the power to draft regulations to which signatory states would be bound by international law"[1]. The commission was only authorized to make recommendations.

According to Paul S. Reinsch, the commission made these suggestions in its final resolution:

It is the duty of all countries to adopt reasonable measures to prevent the departure of shipments of opium to any country which prohibits its entry; that drastic measures should be taken by each government in its own territories to control the manufacture, sale, and distribution of the drug; that all governments possessing settlements in China shall take effective action toward the closing of opium divans in the said settlements.[1]

The meeting united the attending nations behind the cause of opium prohibition, leading to the 1912 International Opium Convention.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Reinsch, Paul S. (1910). "Diplomatic Affairs and International Law, 19091". American Political Science Review. 4 (1): 51. doi:10.2307/1944408. hdl:2027/wu.89101141414. ISSN 1537-5943. JSTOR 1944408. S2CID 251094901.

External links[edit]

UK Drugs and UK Drug Laws: 1900-1939.