As early as the 8th Century, opium began in Asian countries such as China, Vietnam, Myanmar and Malaysia. In the 16th Century, European merchants discovered the commercial appeal of opium, and began distributing it throughout the continent. Although historically opiate abuse was a minor problem throughout this area, drug use in urban areas has been rising since the 1960’s to today. Recent open door policies for international trade have also increased the use and availability of illicit drugs, especially powerful opiates like morphine. According to the Burnet Institute’s Centre for Harm Reduction and Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, Asian nations reported more than 12 million drug users throughout the region since 2005. This is a dangerous problem that requires professional treatment to overcome.
The Burnets Institute’s Study indicates that morphine abuse may have increased recently due to the following reasons:
Because of these reasons, Asians may more readily abuse morphine than ever before.
Opium smoking has long been an issue for Asian males, but recently the number of female drug users has been rising. This increase in drug use among women has been particularly associated with the sex trade in parts of China and Vietnam, and it is more highly stigmatized than male drug use in Asian nations. Additionally, illicit drug use is most common among young adults aged 20 to 35, but drug-use trends show an increase in the younger population, while the age of initial use continuing to drop. In other words, younger people are using drugs more and more, and they are using drugs at earlier ages than ever before. What is perhaps most alarming is that these increases are being seen in all socio-economic areas.
Although Asian governments usually dealt with illicit drug use by reducing the supply and demand through law enforcement, currently they also reduce the harm of drug abuse. Treatment approaches in Asian countries now include medically-supervised detox, therapeutic communities and residential dependency programs, so they are helping addicts while they also limit the supply. Some countries also include drug treatment programs in correctional institutions. The Asian medical and governmental communities continue to make advances in identifying and treating drug abuse, so recovery is becoming increasingly more possible.
If you or a loved one struggles with morphine addiction, know that we are here to help. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline anytime to speak with an admissions coordinator. They are ready to answer your questions about addiction and to help you find the right treatment program for you unique situation.