On the Border: Heroin Epidemic

The Indian border regions near Pakistan, specifically the northernmost states of Punjab and Kashmir, have been ravaged by heroin addiction. The situation is worsening. The bulk of the heroin has been flowing out of Afghanistan, the result of instability following the American invasion of that country in 2001.

The threat to India is dire, with local estimates of the number of addicted running as high as 70 percent of Punjabi males between the ages of 16 and 35 living in Amritsar. In Kashmir official numbers haven't been taken but it’s well known among residents that the issue is severe—and that the psychological pressures of living in a conflict zone often lead to self-medication though opiates.

The government of Punjab has created a plan called Operation Clean, one that initiated 100 drug arrests per day, but critics claim that this plan is treating the symptoms instead of the cause—the persistent flow of heroin across borders. In Kashmir little has been done outside Islamic community organizations. The rate of HIV/AIDS is skyrocketing in both regions.