Opium trade and the spread of HIV in the Golden Crescent

Syeda Ayesha Farooq, Mohammad Hafiz Rasooly, Syed Hani Abidi, Kayvon Modjarrad, Syed Ali

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The Golden Crescent region of South Asia-comprising Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan-is a principal global site for opium production and distribution. Over the past few decades, war, terrorism, and a shifting political landscape have facilitated an active heroin trade throughout the region. Protracted conflict has exacerbated already dire socio-economic conditions and political strife within the region and contributed to a consequent rise in opiate trafficking and addiction among the region's inhabitants. The worsening epidemic of injection drug use has paralleled the rising incidence of HIV and other blood-borne infections in the region and drawn attention to the broader implications of the growing opiate trade in the Golden Crescent. The first step in addressing drug use is to recognize that it is not a character flaw but a form of mental illness, hence warranting humane treatment of drug users. It is also recommended that the governments of the Golden Crescent countries encourage substitution of opium with licit crops and raise awareness among the general public about the perils of opium use.

Original languageEnglish
Article number47
JournalHarm Reduction Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 21 2017


  • Afghanistan
  • Golden crescent
  • HIV
  • Iran
  • Opium
  • Pakistan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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