The global heroin trade is a huge industry, often blamed for perpetrating wars and the deaths of thousands every year.
Where Heroin Comes From
Extracted from the seed pods of Asian poppy plants, most of America’s heroin is produced in Colombia, Mexico, Burma and Afghanistan. Colombian heroin, or South American heroin, is usually a white or brown powder and is delivered to the northeastern United States. Mexico supplies the western United States with “black tar” heroin that is either hard or sticky. The Burma and Afghanistan heroin trade is the source of powdered heroin for the Midwest and other points around the world, but most of America’s heroin comes from South America and Mexico.
Colombian heroin and anything in powder form is generally perceived to be of higher quality or purity than black heroin produced in Mexico. The difference is in the manufacturing process. However, no matter what kind is purchased on the street, all of it produces a heroin high when smoked, snorted or injected and brings with it the same risk of heroin overdose and heroin addiction.
How Heroin Gets to the United States
South America, Asia and Mexico distribute heroin around the world through a variety of methods. Laws governing illegal trafficking and distribution of heroin are strict in the United States and it’s difficult to get large amounts through undetected. Some countries ship heroin in crates by boat and hope that no one at the ports will check their particular shipment. Others ship smaller amounts by mail or hide it in cars and drive it across the Mexican-United States border. Still others use “mules,” usually young women who swallow balloons of heroin and fly from Mexico to the United States.
The Dangers of Trading Heroin
No matter which method of heroin trafficking is chosen, the person actually transporting the drug across country borders is taking on a high level of risk. Since there are no regulatory agencies, there is no one to assist those who work for large drug lords and ensure their safety should the owner of the drugs feel that the shipment was mishandled or stolen. Those who physically swallow the drugs risk their health since there’s always the possibility that a balloon will rupture during transit. Additionally, in many countries, border guards are armed with guns and have standing orders to confiscate the drugs of anyone attempting to smuggle heroin across their borders. This often results in all out war, which kills not only those involved but innocent bystanders as well.
Every time a heroin addict buys a bag of heroin on the street, they are supporting this bloody industry. In addition to destroying their own life and the lives of those around them, heroin addicts contribute to the death of thousands every year. Without demand, drug lords and the heroin drug trade would not survive.