A heroin "epidemic" in Asia

Joseph Westermeyer, Peter Bourne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Heroin "epidemics" have been reported in North America but not in Asia. Following passage of an anti-opium law in Laos, heroin use suddenly began in one area during 1972. Initially heroin use prevailed among indigenous Asian addicts, mostly older addicts who gradually switched from opium to heroin. In addition, there evolved a new group of indigenous addicts: young, single, unemployed males in urban areas whose first narcotic drug was heroin. After the appearance of heroin in Laos, increasing numbers of younger Americans and Europeans were soon attracted to heroin use in Laos.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1977

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgment is expressed to Chomchan Soudaly, M.D., of Laos; Charles Weldon, M.D., M.P.H., of U.S. Agency for International Development; Grace Peng, M.S., Department of Biometry, University of Minnesota; Beth Stone, M.A., Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota, for their assistance. The study was supported in part by the Minnesota Medi-cal Foundation, International Programs Office at the University of Minnesota, and the National Institute of Drug Abuse (grant no. 5 TO1 DA00023-02).


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