Mexico’s government has explored regulating poppy production to make pharmaceutical opiates like morphine in an effort to weaken heroin-smuggling gangs, according to two sources with knowledge of the government’s thinking.

Amid a government review of drugs policy, Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong asked policy experts late last year whether Mexico could win authorization from the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), a United Nations body, to grow and export opium poppies for painkillers.

“It’s a legitimate question,” said one of the sources with direct knowledge of the talks, who was not authorized to speak publicly. “States have to ask themselves questions and have to discuss their policies.”

It is not clear how seriously the government is considering the regulation of poppy production and it has not yet approached the INCB directly but the discussion illustrates how concerned it is about heroin-related violence.

Mexico’s interior ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

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