The Real Story of Heroin and the Middle East

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Most everyone is aware that heroin is a problem in the Middle East. However, not everyone realizes that the Middle East produces more of the drug than any other place on Earth, or that the market there is run mostly by the Taliban and Al Qaeda (different organizations with similar goals who compete for these ends) — which is a major source of income for both sides.

Even fewer people know that this drug is resilient to extreme temperatures, allowing it to flourish in this part of the world, though it’s a logical assumption. Combine this assumption with the next logical conclusion that growing crops in this region is very difficult and the picture becomes a bit clearer. Some don’t realize that the drug moves around the world, in large part, through Russia and other eastern European nations. Nor are they aware that the drug is cleaner there than knock-offs or dirty opiates produced elsewhere.

But the stories that don’t get focused on are those about the drug’s spreading influence throughout the area into Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other countries. Even though in the West there has been a decline of heroin, it has been shown that the abuse of opiates is still on the rise in multiple other forms, primarily pharmaceuticals. What’s worse is that because there is so much poppy from heroin is made, because it is transported in all directions outside of the Middle East, because the Taliban and Al Qaeda are such an influence, heroin is now weaved throughout every aspect of that society.

Image: Opium Poppy Flower by Evelyn Simak via Wikimedia

It’s so cheap that food prices don’t compare. This means that many families resort to using heroin to stymie hunger, including dispensing the drug to children. The effects of addiction are starting to become evident but the damage continues as families are being ripped apart; wives are leaving husbands who cannot put down the pipe in countries where they could be killed for doing so. Due to the lack of education of the subject, opium is continually preying on their society. Monetary incentive, political corruption, lagging economies and a swath of  other factors have made for this pot of addiction and death. The problem seems insurmountable as every approach to a solution raises new unseen troubles. Similar to other countries, though much more pervasive, are wide areas where one can walk over the lethargic bodies to watch people use. Nevermind that children pass these areas on the way to school, further feeding the cycle.

It’s just another day in a place where ‘Heroin Is King’.

Listen here:

3-14 King Heroin


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