Raw Opium

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Raw Opium is a 2011 documentary film and two-part TV series produced by Robert Lang of Kensington Communications, directed by Peter Findlay and written by Peter Findlay and Robert Lang. The documentary examines the worldwide opium trade, and the vast criminal and public health issues that have arisen alongside.[1]

Raw Opium is a journey around the world and through time, where conflicting forces do battle over the narcotic sap of the opium poppy. From an opium master in southeast Asia to a UN drug enforcement officer on the border of Afghanistan hunting down the smugglers of Central Asia; from a former Indian government Drug Czar and opium farmer to a crusading Vancouver doctor and Portuguese street worker who daily confront the realities of drug addiction.

We see how this flower has played, and continues to play, a pivotal role – not just in the lives of people who grow, manufacture and use it – but also in the increasingly tense sphere of international relations. In the process, our assumptions about addiction and the War on Drugs are challenged.

Raw Opium
Promotional poster
Directed by Peter Findlay
Produced by Robert Lang
Written by Peter Findlay, Robert Lang
Distributed by Kensington Communications
Release date
Running time
84 minutes
Country Canada, India, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Portugal
Language English

Production credits[edit]

Director: Peter D. Findlay

Producer: Robert Lang

Written by: Peter D. Findlay, Robert Lang

Associate Producer / Researcher: Scott Calbeck

Cinematographers: Derek Rogers, Jonathan Bland

Editor: Michael Fuller

Sound Recordists: Mike Fillipov, Ao Loo, Kevin Pinto

Production Manager: David Meth

Original Music: John Findlay

Narration: Peter D. Findlay, John Kramer

Narrator: John Ralston

Editorial Consultant: John Kramer

Head of Development: David Oppenheim

Executive Producer: Robert Lang

Produced by Kensington Communications Inc. in association with TVO, Canal D (owned by Astral Media), SCN, CTV Two, ZDF-ARTE, and SBS-TV Australia. Produced with the participation of the Ontario Media Development Corporation, and Rogers Documentary Fund. Produced with the financial participation of Canadian Television Fund, and with the assistance of the CANWEST-HOT Docs Completion Fund.

Filming locations[edit]


People in the documentary[edit]

Christer Brannerud: Project lead, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Tajikistan

Dr. Gabor Maté: Physician, Author, Public Speaker, Vancouver, Canada

Peter Dale Scott: Author and Commentator, Berkeley, USA

Larry Mendosa: Special Agent, Drug Enforcement Administration, USA

Gwynne Dyer: Author, Historian, Journalist, London, UK

Misha Glenny: Journalist, Author, UK

Darwin Fisher: Intake manager, Insite, Vancouver, Canada

Derek Thomas: Client at Insite, Vancouver, Canada

Eugene Oscapella: Barrister and Solicitor, Ottawa, Canada

Pam Squire, MD.: Doctor, Pain Management Specialist, Vancouver, Canada

Daniel Reid: Author and Historian, Australia

Peresia and Danglesia Kathak: Opium farmers, Arunachal Pradesh, India

Romesh Bhattacharji: Former Narcotics Commissioner, India

Rui Reis: Outreach worker, Institute on Drugs and Drug Addiction, Lisbon, Portugal


The 2-part TV documentary has been shown in several countries.

  • 2-part documentary, broadcast, online streamed with a live chat, TVO, Ontario, Canada, tvo.org/rawopium
  • 2-part documentary, broadcast on CTV Two, Alberta, Canada
  • 8 minute segment of Raw Opium broadcast as part of The Economist Film Project on PBS NewsHour, USA
  • Feature French version broadcast on Canal D throughout French Canada
  • 2-part documentary broadcast on SBS TV, Australia
  • Feature documentary broadcast in Germany, France, Switzerland on ZDF and Arte


  1. ^ United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime The Global Afghan Opium Trade: A Threat Assessment, UNDOC (July, 2011)

Notes from the official website: http://kensingtontv.com/rawopium/film/

External links[edit]