In April 2015, India’s navy intercepted nearly 500 pounds of heroin coming from Pakistan It was the largest heroin seizure ever, reportedly worth nearly $100 million dollars
For years, Pakistan has been stuck in what’s called the Golden Crescent Along with Iran and Afghanistan, the region produces more than 90% of the world’s non-pharmaceutical-grade opium Nearly half of that is smuggled through Pakistan As a result, the local Pakistani population has been suffering from widespread drug abuse due to the cheap availability of the drug So, how bad is Pakistan’s heroin problem? Pakistan has been called the most heroin-addicted country in the world, spending some 2 billion dollars a year on the drug
The UN reports more than 4 million Pakistanis are addicted to drugs, and nearly a million are hardcore heroin addicts That number has been rising dramatically as war continues to spread throughout the Middle East In Pakistan’s northern provinces, not far from the Afghan border, it’s been estimated that one in ten residents use drugs At least 44 tons of heroin are smoked or injected every year throughout Pakistan, dwarfing the US’s rate of consumption But drug addiction alone isn’t the only crisis generated by Pakistan’s heroin problem
As the number of addicts has grown, so has the rate of HIV In 2007, there were about 90,000 addicts injecting heroin Today that number is closer to half a million As many as three quarters of those have admitted to sharing needles The result of this practice is that between 2005 and 2011, rates of HIV amongst drug users exploded from 11% to 40%
And with insufficient and underfunded drug treatment centers, the problem has only gotten worse Pakistan’s drug problem is essentially the result of the relocation of drug production in the Middle East When Ayatollah Khomeini (ḵō-may-ni) took over the Iranian government in 1979, drug dealers and manufacturers were forced out of the country into neighboring Afghanistan Since then Pakistan has been used as one of the main channels to smuggle as much as 40% of the heroin produced Today, heroin can be bought for less than two dollars in Pakistan’s open drug market
Although Pakistan is hoping to be drug free by 2020, progress is slow, underfunded, and drug rehab hospitals are even being shut down There’s no telling how bad Pakistan’s drug epidemic will get before it starts to get better, but one thing's for sure: the flow of heroin throughout the region isn’t showing any signs of slowing If you want to dive into the science of what exactly makes heroin so deadly, check out this awesome video we made on DNews Don’t forget to subscribe for new videos every day of the week! Thanks for watching!