North Korean Drug Trafficking Causing Addiction Epidemic | The Fix
facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

North Korean Drug Trafficking Causing Addiction Epidemic

While North Korea's hand in drug smuggling is hardly news, a new report shows just how widespread addiction is in the isolated communist nation.

Image: 

Shutterstock

By McCarton Ackerman

04/17/14

| Share

In the midst of a severe food shortage and the never-ending standoff with South Korea, North Korea is reportedly turning to drug smuggling as a means of filling government coffers.

This is hardly a new phenomenon for the Hermit Nation. A new report from the Washington-based Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, “Illicit: North Korea’s Evolving Operations to Earn Hard Currency,” claims that the country has been engaged in smuggling since the 1970s. Government officials during that time were directly responsible for trafficking drugs and counterfeit cigarettes, but turns out that top leaders in North Korea have also recently had a hand in drug trafficking. In 2004, for example, several high-ranking officials were caught smuggling 150,000 sedative pills into Egypt.

These days, much of the drug trade in North Korea is done via underground markets, as locals desperate for food and money use the country’s heavy international trade restrictions to their advantage. But because access to healthcare is scarce, many natives will also use these potent substances as a cure for various ailments.

This has also led to a reported epidemic of drug addiction throughout the country. A study published in North Korea Review estimated that “at least 40 to 50 percent [of residents] are severely addicted [to crystal meth]," while also indicating that the government itself was directly responsible for some of the meth production. The website DailyNK has also reported that North Koreans are now getting hooked on Amidon, a painkiller known in the west as methadone. A source told the publication that it’s used as a relief from “fatigue” due to “undergoing forced labor” and “secretly given as a gift on holidays.”

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu
 
 
 
 

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery
 
 
 
 

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center
 
 
 
 

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 

Reflections
 
 
 
 

This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea
 
 
 
 

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Journey Malibu
 
 
 
 

Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab
 
 
 
 
 

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv