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Heroin Trafficking in the Golden Triangle

NCJ Number
Police Journal Volume: 64 Issue: 3 Dated: (July-September 1991) Pages: 241-248
S Sen
Date Published
8 pages
The "Golden Triangle" region of Southeast Asia has become the center of a thriving opium economy and a crucial source of narcotics for the world. The current oversupply has led to warehousing of huge quantities of opium, making the heroin problem in the area intractable and a spreading heroin epidemic possible.
The Golden Triangle includes parts of Burma, China, Laos, and Thailand. It provides ideal conditions for opium cultivation, which began during the 16th and 17th centuries. Heroin became a major component of the opium trade after World War II, and the demand for heroin by United States troops during the Vietnam War helped transform the opium economy of the Golden Triangle into a large and profitable heroin economy. Drug trafficking now influences every aspect of politics in the region. Crop eradication efforts conducted since 1964 have had no significant impact. Believing that equipment it provided to help the Burmese government combat drug trafficking has been diverted to counterinsurgency operations, the United States has cut off this assistance. The lack of enforcement, good weather, and increased cultivation have sharply increased opium production since then, making reduced prices and a spread of heroin use possible.


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