Poppy Growers Tasmania believes ongoing lawsuits in the United States will have no effect on poppy production levels in Tasmania, claiming demand has "stabilised" since a drastic reduction starting in 2013.
Chief executive Keith Rice and former chairman Peter Patmore addressed concerns about the future viability of the industry in an article published in the association's monthly newsletter.
Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, derived from oxycodone, filed for bankruptcy this week as it faces more than 2600 federal and state lawsuits over the US opioid addiction crisis. It comes weeks after Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $847 million by an Oklahoma court, a decision that singled out Tasmanian Alkaloids' role in supplying raw material.
Purdue would be restructured into a public benefit trust where profits from sales would pay plaintiffs.
In their article, Mr Rice and Mr Padmore said the Tasmanian industry had seen out the demand decrease and the lawsuits were unlikely to result in a production dip any further than the current 12,000 hectares.
MORE ON THE TASMANIAN POPPY INDUSTRY:
"Despite media concerns in the US the current demand is sustainable for the production of legally and medically approved opiate based prescription drugs," they wrote.
Part of their reasoning centred on apparently unmet markets in the developing world, including across Asia, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe, with claims that 70 per cent of the global population have little access to legal drugs for pain management.
Oxycodone has widely been regarded as the source of the current addiction crisis in the US, where a lax regulatory system allowed pharmaceutical companies to aggressively market the drug to doctors.
When they could no longer get prescriptions, patients turned to heroin and, most recently, synthetic opioids Fentanyl and Tapentadol which were not derived from Tasmanian-sourced poppies.
Tasmania provides more than 50 per cent of the world's demand for narcotic raw materials, using poppy straw technology.
Mr Rice and Mr Padmore said there was no need for poppy farmers to panic.
"Tasmania is not the only supplier of raw materials to the US. Turkey and India are traditional suppliers with a guaranteed quota, while Spain is now a significant supplier in the US," they wrote.
"The action production of the poppy straw and production of raw materials for some of the products may have occurred in Tasmania, but it is too simplistic and erroneous to accuse Tasmania's poppy growers of being complicit in some criminal conspiracy.
"Tasmania should continue to produce, process and market a legal and much-needed produce while the United States, through the DEA, the FDA and the legal system, continue to strongly regulate internal affairs."
When news of the Oklahoma lawsuit broke, Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson urged Tasmanian poppy growers to consider moving to hemp seed production, foreshadowing tighter opioid regulations in the US.
He also compared Tasmania's role in the addiction crisis to Afghanistan's role, where opium and heroin is largely sourced.
Mr Rice and Mr Padmore described this language as "insulting".